14 Facts About Ariane 4


Ariane 4 was a European expendable space launch system, developed by the Centre national d'etudes spatiales, the French space agency, for the European Space Agency .

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The Ariane 4 was principally an evolution of the existing technologies used, as opposed to being revolutionary in its design ethos; this approach quickly gained the backing of most ESA members, who funded and participated in its development and operation.

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Capable of being equipped with a wide variety of strap-on boosters, the Ariane 4 gained a reputation for being an extremely versatile launcher.

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In February 2003, the final Ariane 4 was launched; Arianespace had decided to retire the type in favour of the newer and larger Ariane 5, which effectively replaced it in service.

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The Ariane 4 would be a considerably larger and more flexible launcher that the earlier members of its family, being intended to compete with the upper end of launchers worldwide.

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Work on the Ariane 4 was substantially eased via drawing heavily on both the technology and experiences gained from producing and operating the earlier members of the Ariane rocket.

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The total development cost for the Ariane 4 was valued at 476 million European Currency Units in 1986.

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In effect, the Ariane 4 was an improved and developed derivative of the earlier Ariane 3, primarily differing through the application of various solid-fuelled and liquid-fuelled boosters, the latter being the only all-new design feature of the Ariane 4; at this point, the practice of using liquid boosters was uncommon, having only previously been used in the Chinese space program.

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Development of the Ariane 5 was not without controversy as some ESA members considered the more mature Ariane 4 to be more suited for meeting established needs for such launchers; it was for this reason that Britain chose not to participate in the Ariane 5 programme.

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Ariane 4 was the ultimate development from the preceding members of the Ariane rocket family.

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In June 1988, the inaugural flight of the Ariane 4 occurred, which was a success.

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Since then, Ariane 4 has flown 116 times, 113 of which were successful, yielding a success rate of 97.

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Ariane 4 had done so as a reminder to himself to inform his superior, as per procedure, of an unplanned polishing he had made to fit the tube.

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On 15 February 2003, the final launch of Ariane 4 rocket occurred, placing Intelsat 907 into geosynchronous orbit.

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