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Ariane 5 celebrates its 100th launch


Kourou, 25 September 2018.


  • During its 100th launch, Ariane 5 placed in orbit 2 telecommunications satellites weighing a total of 9,940 kg
  • In 22 years of service, Ariane 5 has launched more than 170 satellites to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) as well as the Rosetta probe, fiveedtransfer vehicles (ATV) to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), and 12 satellites for the European Galileo navigation service
  • More than 260,000 people throughout Europe took part in this summer’s #withariane social media campaign
  • To download video “Proud to work on Ariane 5”:  https://www.ariane.group/en/photo_video/100th-launch-employee-version/



For its 100th launch – its fourth of 2018 – Ariane 5 lifted off from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) and placed the two telecommunications satellites Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat38 in GTO.

The performance of this Ariane 5 ECA was 9,940 kg net total mass for the two satellites and 10,827 kg gross mass (including the ACU – payload adaptors, the SYLDA – Ariane dual launch system, and the LVA 3936 – Launch Vehicle Adaptor). Since 2016, the net performance gain for Ariane 5 has increased by 150 kg.

“Launching 10 metric tons into orbit is now normal business for Ariane 5, and this 100th lift-off is an opportunity to celebrate the expertise of the teams at ArianeGroup, Arianespace and all of their industrial partners across Europe, who are working constantly to improve their capabilities and the performance and competitiveness of our launcher, while at the same time preparing the arrival of Ariane 6 in just two years from now. I warmly thank them and the European Space Agency, CNES and all our partners in European space, with whom we celebrate this success. Without the interest and constant support of the political powers in Europe over these two decades, this success would not have been possible,” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup. “During the course of these 100 flights since 1996, Ariane 5 has not only supported the development of the European and global space industry in the field of telecommunications, but has also contributed to exploration and to science. Soon Ariane 6 will take up the torch. Until that time, other impressive missions await Ariane 5, whose next flight is a very important one: BepiColombo which will head for Mercury next month. Ariane 5 has not yet written the final page of its space legend.”

As well as the 170 telecommunications satellites placed in geostationary transfer orbit over the past 22 years, Ariane 5 has also launched payloads to numerous different orbits: the second flight of the recoverable ARD capsule; the XMM, Herschel and Planck telescopes; the Rosetta probe; the ENVISAT Earth observation satellite; two HELIOS remote-sensing satellites; five ATV automated freighters to resupply the International Space Station and, more recently, 12 navigation satellites for Europe’s Galileo constellation. Ariane 5 thus confirms its reputation as the world’s most reliable commercial launcher.

In celebration of this 100th launch, more than 7,000 people around Europe virtually launched Ariane 5 themselves on social media. This successful joint campaign by ArianeGroup, Arianespace, CNES and ESA was launched on July 25 to raise awareness about Ariane 5 among the people of Europe. Finally, the various ArianeGroup sites in France (notably in Kourou) and in Germany, celebrated this 100th launch by sharing memories and future ambitions with their 9,000 employees and all their partners.

As the industrial lead contractor for development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises. ArianeGroup oversees all the industrial activities, from the performance improvements and studies necessary for Ariane 5 up to its production, the provision of data or software specific to each mission, without forgetting marketing activities via Arianespace. This chain includes equipment and structures, engines manufacturing, integration of the various stages and finally launcher integration in French Guiana.


The Ariane 243 flight in figures:

  • 100th launch of an Ariane 5
  • 75h consecutive success by a launcher fitted with a Vulcain® 2 engine
  • 100th success by a launcher fitted with the solid propellant strap-on boosters (EAP)
  • 140th consecutive success by a launcher fitted with the HM7B engine


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 About ArianeGroup

ArianeGroup develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs approximately 9,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its 2017 revenues amounted to 3.4 billion euros.


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