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Ariane-5 booster beiong transferrd to the Final Assembly Building during the Ariane 503, ARD campaign at the European spaceport in French Guiana.
ESA's Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD) was launched into space and then returned to Earth to test technologies required to safely guide a vehicle through the Earth's fiery atmosphere and back to Earth.
It was launched by Ariane 5 on Flight 503, V112 from Kourou, French Guiana, the 21 of October 1998. Once it was injected into orbit, it began its descent, entering the upper atmosphere at a velocity of more than 27 000 km/h. Fifteen minutes later, it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. It was equipped with leading-edge technology that allowed its flight and landing to be performed with unequalled precision.