Cost: $165-220 million
Height: 46 to 52 m (151 to 171 ft)
Diameter: 5.4 m (18 ft)
Mass: 777,000 kgs (1,713,000 lbs)
Payload capacity (to low earth orbit): 20,000 kgs (44,000 lbs)
Maiden flight: November 20, 2002
Length: 23.8 m
Engine: Vulcain 2
Thrust: 960 kN (220,000 lbf)
Burn Time: 540 seconds
Stage 2 (ES)
Length: 3.4 m
Fuel: MMH / N2O4
Thrust: 27 kN (6,100 lbf)
Burn Time: 1,170 seconds
Stage 2 (ECA)
Length: 4.7 m
Thrust: 67 kN (15,000 lbf)
Burn Time: 945 seconds
Length: 31.6 m
Diameter: 3.06 m
Thrust: 7,080 kN (1,590,000 lbf)
Burn Time: 140 seconds
The Ariane 5 is a heavy-lift rocket developed for the European Space Agency (ESA) and a consortium of other European countries. The Ariane 5 has gone through multiple design iterations since the G variant was first successfully launched on June 4, 1996. Following the G variant, the G+ and GS improved the launch vehicle’s power and capacity. The G, G+ and GS variants have since been retired.
Arianespace current operates the Ariane 5 ECA and the ES, a variant originally designed to launch the Hermes spaceplane. As the ES was developed as a human-rated vehicle, its cost is significantly higher than the ECA. As a result, the Ariane 5 ECA dominates much of the Arianespace launch calendar.
An additional Ariane 5 ME variant was announced in 2014 as a replacement for both the ECA and ES variants. The rocket was meant to be a stopgap between the ageing Ariane 5 ECA and the upgraded Ariane 6. However, a year later Arianespace made the decision to cut funding for the ME in favour of pushing up development of the Ariane 6.
The Ariane 5 has been launched in aid of almost 100 missions suffering just two failures and three partial failures.