||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
|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|
|2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb)|
|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 Nitrogen tetroxide in an UH 25 oxidiser, which was a mixture of three parts UDMH and one part Hydrazine. 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.
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.
- "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.