The fourth test on a P230 solid booster for the European Ariane 5 launcher took place on Friday 30 September 1994 at 13h05, Paris time, on its test stand at the Guyana Space Centre, the European spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana.
This test follows three previous tests : the B1 with the booster in "heavy" configuration on 16 February 1993, the M1 on 25 June 1993 which was the first test with the booster in "near- flight" configuration, and the M3 on 20 June 1994 in "flight" configuration. The M4 test also in "flight configuration" included a flight-type actuation system and lighter thermal protection. Three more tests are foreseen before the maiden flight of Ariane 5 (Ariane 501).
The first indications are that the test went well. The Ariane 5 launcher will be fitted with two P230 boosters, each 30m high and containing 237 t of propellant grain in three segments. Each booster has a thrust of 540 t, (equal to that of the most powerful Ariane 4 on lift-off), which makes it the most powerful booster ever built in Europe.
This test was run under the responsibility of EUROPROPULSION (a firm jointly owned by BPD Difesa e Spazio, of Italy, and the French Soci.t. Europ.enne de Propulsion). CNES (the French Space Agency) designed the test-stand and was in charge of carrying out the test.
The P230 solid booster forms part of ESA's Ariane 5 programme, the prime contractorship of which ESA has delegated to CNES.