Ariane 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ariane 3
Function Carrier rocket
Manufacturer Aérospatiale
Country of origin Europe
Height 49 metres (161 ft)
Diameter 3.8 metres (12 ft)
Mass 237,000 kilograms (522,000 lb)
Stages Three or four
Payload to
2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Ariane
Launch history
Status Retired
Total launches 11
Successes 10
Failures 1
First flight 4 August 1984
Last flight 12 July 1989

Ariane 3 was a European expendable carrier rocket, which was used for eleven launches between 1984 and 1989. It was a member of the Ariane family of rockets, derived from the Ariane 2, although it flew before this. It was designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, and produced by Aérospatiale in France.

The Ariane 3 followed the same basic design as the earlier Ariane 1, but incorporated modifications made for the Ariane 2. Unlike the Ariane 2, two solid-fuelled PAP strap-on booster rockets were used to augment the first stage at liftoff.

The core of the Ariane 3 was essentially an Ariane 2. The first stage was powered by four Viking 2B bipropellant engines, burning UH 25 (25% straight hydrazine, 75% UDMH) in a dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser. The second stage was powered by a Viking 4B, which used the same fuel-oxidiser combination. The third stage used a cryogenically fuelled HR7-B engine, burning liquid hydrogen in liquid oxygen. On some flights, a Mage 2 kick motor was flown as a fourth stage.

Launch history[edit]

The Ariane 3 made its maiden flight on 4 August 1984, almost two years before Ariane 2 from which it had been derived, placing the ECS-2 and Télécom 1A satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Eleven were launched with ten successes and one failure. The failure occurred on the fifth flight, launched on 12 September 1985, when the third stage failed to ignite resulting in the rocket failing to achieve orbit. The ECS-3 and Spacenet-3 satellites were lost in the failure.

The Ariane 3 was quickly replaced by the more capable Ariane 4, resulting in a comparatively small number of launches. It made its final flight on 12 July 1989, carrying the Olympus F1 satellite.


  • "Ariane 1, 2, 3". Launchers. European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  • "Ariane 1-3". Ariane Heritage. Arianespace. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Ariane-3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  • Wade, Mark. "Ariane". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 

External links[edit]