For a quarter century, Ariane 5 has been Europe’s heavy-lift workhorse. Flying from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 5 has carried to space a long series of commercial and scientific missions. Notable payloads include ESA’s comet-chasing Rosetta, a dozen of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites – orbited with just three launches – the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope and, in April 2023, ESA’s Juice mission to Jupiter.
Ariane 5 more than doubled the mass-to-orbit capacity of its predecessor, Ariane 4, which flew from 1988 until 2003 as a favourite of the telecommunications industry with its need to put large payloads into very high geosynchronous orbits. Ariane 5’s capacity enabled it to orbit two large telecommunications satellites on a single launch, or to push very large payloads into deep space.
After 117 flights, Ariane 5 is being replaced by an all-new launch vehicle, Ariane 6.
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Final Ariane 5 liftoff | 360° view of launch
Hot-fire test of Ariane 6 core stage on launch pad
Webb flies Ariane 5: from preparation to liftoff at Europe’s Spaceport
Trial by fire for Ariane 6’s upper stage
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