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Ariane 44L

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Ariane 44L

Ariane 4
Function Expendable launch vehicle
Manufacturer Arianespace
Country of origin Europe
Height 58.72 m (192.7 ft)
Diameter 3.8 m (12.5 ft)
Mass 240,000 - 470,000 kg (529,110 - 1,036,175 lb)
Stages 2
Payload to
5,000 - 7,600 kg (11,024 - 16,756 lb)
Payload to
2,000 - 4,300 kg (4,410 - 9480 lb)
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites Kourou ELA-2
Total launches 116
(40: 7, 42P: 15, 42L: 13)
(44P: 15, 44LP: 26, 44L: 40)
Successes 113
(40: 7, 42P: 14, 42L: 13)
(44P: 15, 44LP: 25, 44L: 39)
Failures 3 (42P: 1, 44L: 1, 44LP: 1)
First flight 40: 22 January 1990
42P: 20 November 1990
42L: 12 May 1993
44P: 4 April 1991
44LP: 15 June 1988
44L: 5 June 1989
Last flight 40: 3 December 1999
42P: 4 May 2002
42L: 23 January 2002
44P: 25 September 2001
44LP: 27 November 2001
44L: 15 February 2003
Boosters (Ariane 42L, 44LP or 44L) - PAL
No boosters 0, 2 or 4
Engines Viking 6
Thrust 752.003 kN (169,057 lbf)
Specific impulse 278 sec
Burn time 142 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Boosters (Ariane 42P, 44LP or 44P) - PAP
No boosters 0, 2 or 4
Thrust 650 kN
Burn time 33 sec
Fuel CTPB 1613
First Stage - L220
Engines 4 Viking 5C
Thrust 3,034.1 kN
Specific impulse 278 sec
Burn time 205 sec
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Second Stage - L33
Engines 1 Viking 4B
Thrust 720.965 kN
Specific impulse 296 sec
Burn time 132 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH
Third Stage - H10
Engines 1 HM7-B
Thrust 62.703 kN
Specific impulse 446 sec
Burn time 759 seconds
Fuel Lox/LH2

Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it made 113 successful launches. It was known to be an extremely versatile launcher.[not verified in body]

The Ariane 4 proved ideal for launching communications and Earth observation satellites as well as those for scientific research. During its working life, Ariane 4 captured 50% of the market in launching commercial satellites, demonstrating Europe's ability to compete in the commercial launch sector.[1]


In 1973 eleven countries, called together by the European Space Agency (ESA), decided to take Europe down its own path in the space field. Six years later in 1979, Ariane 1 was launched from Kourou. Following development work on variants 1, 2 and 3, Ariane 4 was able to draw on the experience gained from these earlier variants.

The development program began in 1983 and the first successful launch was on 15 June 1988. The system became the basis for a European satellite launches with a record of 113 successful and three launch failures. Ariane 4 provided a payload increase from 1700 kg for Ariane 3 to a maximum of 4800 kg to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The record for Ariane 4 to GTO was 4946 kg.[2]

The Ariane 4 Launch Team was awarded the Space Achievement Award[3] by the Space Foundation in 2004.

Vehicle Description

The Ariane 4 was the ultimate development from the Ariane 1,2,3. Compared with the Ariane 2/3, the Ariane 4 featured stretched first (61%) and third stages, a strengthened structure, new propulsion bay layouts, new avionics, and the SPELDA (Structure Porteuse Externe de Lancement Double Ariane) dual-payload carrier. The basic 40 version used no strap-on motors, while the Ariane 42L, 44L, 42P, 44P, and 44LP versions used various combinations of solid and liquid propellant strap-on motors. Development was authorised in January 1982, with the objective of increasing payload by 90%. Total development cost 476 million 1986 ECU's.[4]

Originally designed to place 2-4.2 tonne payloads in geostationary orbit, the six Ariane 4 variants, aided by strap-on boosters, enabled the launch of payloads in excess of 4.9 tonnes on several occasions.


The rocket was used in a number of variants - it could be fitted with two or four additional solid (PAP - Propulseurs d'Appoint à Poudre) or liquid fueled booster rockets (PAL - Propulseurs d'Appoint à Liquide). The launcher included a satellite payload carrier system called Spelda (Structure Porteuse Externe de Lancement Double Ariane, French for 'External carrying structure for Ariane double launches') for launching more than one satellite at a time. The rocket captured nearly 60% of the world’s commercial launch services market, serving both European and international clients.[5]

Ariane 4 AR 40 was the basic version, with three stages: 58.4 m high, a diameter of 3.8 m, a liftoff mass of 245 t and a maximum payload of 2100 kg to GTO or 5000 kg to Low Earth orbit (LEO). Main power was from four Viking 2B motors each producing 667 kN of thrust. The second stage had a single Viking 4B motor, and the third stage had an HM7-B liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen motor. AR 44L, with the maximum additional boost of four liquid fuel rocket strap-ons, was four-stage, weighed 470 t and could transfer a payload of 4730 kg to GTO or 7600 kg to LEO.

Model PAL PAP Payload to GTO, kg Launches Successes Failure date
AR 40
AR 42P
1 December 1994
AR 42L
AR 44L
22 February 1990
24 January 1994
AR 44P


The inaugural flight of Ariane 4 took place in 1988. Since then has accomplished 116 flights with a success rate of more than 97%. The final launch of Ariane 4 rocket occurred on 15 February 2003, placing Intelsat 907 into geosynchronous orbit.[6]


Ariane 4 was phased out in favour of Ariane 5 and, eight years later, the Soyuz ST. Spacecraft launched by the Soyuz reuse the payload platform and dispenser originally designed for the Ariane.[7]

Comparable Rockets

See also

  • Comparison of orbital launchers families


External links

  • Ariane 4 launchers
  • Ariane 4
  • A cutaway drawing of the Ariane 4

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