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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ariane 5 rocket. Its mission ended after 27 years

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Ariane 5, the largest rocket of the European Space Agency, is retiring. Its last flight was on Wednesday – Ariane launched two military communications satellites into Earth orbit. The racket has been used since 1996.

Owned by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Ariane 5 rocket since 1996 has been cosmos European – and not only – loads. Among them are the Galileo navigation satellites, the James Webb Space Telescope and the JUICE probe, which aims to thoroughly study Jupiter and its moons. Ariane 5 made its last flight on Wednesday.

She made 117 flights

Ariane 5 took off for the last time from the European cosmodrome in French Guiana at 7 pm local time (in Poland it was midnight from Wednesday to Thursday). The mission took about 33 minutes from launch to placing the Syracuse 4B and Heinrich Hertz H2Sat military communications satellites into Earth orbit – everything went according to plan. It was the 117th flight of this rocket model.

“The Ariane 5 completed its service perfectly,” Stephane Israel, director of Arianespace, the company that operates the Ariane rocket flights, said during the flight’s broadcast.

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Last launch of the Ariane 5 rocketReuters

While Ariane 1, 2 and 3 (1979-1989) and Ariane 4 (1988-2003) were closely related, the larger and more powerful Ariane 5 was developed as a completely new launch system. Rocket design changed over time, culminating in an ECA variant fitted with an upgraded engine. As of 2019, only it was used to launch payloads into orbit.

Ariane 5 is to be succeeded by Ariane 6 – a model designed to reduce launch costs, which will allow it to compete with SpaceX’s efficient Falcon 9 rockets. A test flight is scheduled for the end of the year, and if all goes well, Ariane 6 will launch its first payload into orbit next year.

Last launch of the Ariane 5 rocketReuters

Main photo source: Reuters



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