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Enabling & Support

N° 27–1995: Ariane-5 on the way to flight qualification

24 July 1995

The Q2 test of the solid-propellant booster stage for the Ariane-5 European launcher took place at 17:15 hours (Paris time) on Friday, 21 July on the stage teststand at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.


This test, the seventh of those carried out to date, is the second qualification test of the solid-propellant engine and the last booster qualification test. On the basis of initial analysis, the test can be said to have been satisfactory.

The stage engine was developed using a European source of ammonium perchlorate by SNPE (Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs, France) and the test's success should therefore now make it possible to use a dual procurement source for the ammonium perchlorate required for future launches.

The Ariane-5 launcher will be fitted with two solid-propellant boosters each standing 30 metres high and containing 237 tonnes of grain in three separate segments. Each booster produces thrust of 540 tonnes (equivalent to the thrust delivered by the most powerful Ariane-4 version on lift-off), making it by far the most powerful booster of this type developed to date in Europe.

The test was carried out under the responsibility of AEROSPATIALE*.

EUROPROPULSION** supplied the solid-propellant engine and CNES designed the teststand and was responsible for conducting the test. The solid-propellant stage is part of ESA'S Ariane-s programme the management Of which has been delegated to CNES.

* AEROSPATIALE is the solid-booster stage authority

** EUROPROPULSION, a joint subsidiary of BPD Difesa e Spazio (Italy) and the Société Européenne de Propulsion (France), is responsible for the solid- propellant engine.