ESA title
Enabling & Support

Ariane 5 Generic

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Transportation / Launch vehicles

Main Data Ariane 5G
 Height*  46 to 52 m
 Diameter  up to 5.4 m
 Liftoff mass**  746 tonnes
 Payload mass***  6 tonnes GTO & 9.5 tonnes SSO


Ariane 5 made its first successful launch on 30 October 1997. Its first operational flight took place in December 1999 when it launched ESA’s X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM) satellite. Since it became operational Ariane 5 has launched satellites for communications, Earth observation and scientific research.

Ariane 5 is used for launches into geostationary transfer orbit GTO), medium and low Earth orbits, Sun-synchronous orbits (SSO) and Earth-escape trajectories.

All Ariane 5 versions are composed of a central core stage to which are attached two solid boosters. On top of this different upper stage configurations are integrated.

In order to launch Ariane 5, ESA built a new launch site at Europe’s Spaceport near to the town of Kourou in French Guiana, as well as facilities to integrate the solid boosters and to produce the solid propellant used by the boosters.

* Depending on upper composite configuration
** Double launch
 *** Dual launch, mass of spacecraft and adaptors 
GTO = Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (580 km x 35786 km x 7°)
SSO = Sun Synchronous Orbit (800 km x 800 km x 98.6°)

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