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An historical look at the Ariane 4 launcher made prior to its final launch which took place successfully on 15 February 2003 from the Kourou space port in French Guiana. The programme composes of an A-Roll with split audio and English commentary and is complimented by a B-Roll with clean international sound. The video includes:
00:35 When the European Space Agency was setup in 1973 one of the most important tasks was to develop Europe’s launcher – without a launcher one cannot go into space.
00:55 Six year later the first Ariane 1 rocket went up from Europe’s new space port Kourou in French Guiana. Over the years ESA has build a whole series of launchers Ariane 1, Ariane 2, Ariane 3, Ariane 4 and Ariane 5.
1:19 Ariane 4 proved to be a great success with over one hundred successful launches over 15 years. A large number of communication satellites around the globe have been launched onboard an Ariane 4 rocket. Many meteorological satellites have also been launched by Ariane 4. It was the world’s first commercial launch vehicle, with no tights to military.
2:59 To develop these economical launch vehicles ESA has developed s new methodology for building the rocket. It is build by standard building block assembled according to the specific needs for each launch. The end result was an array of six different Ariane 4 types, each unique suited for a specific purpose.
3:28 On it final flight the launcher will carry yet another commercial satellite, an Intelsat communication satellite. Over a decade Ariane 4 has been responsible for over 50% of all commercial satellite launches.
4:00 The Ariane 4 was replaced by the much more powerful Ariane 5. The maximum of 6 tons will soon grow to a need to launch satellites up to 10 tons, the double of what an Ariane 4 can manage.
4:40 ESA has developed a new launcher for small satellites, the Vega launch rocket. It will carry payloads of up to 1.5 tons into orbit.