Ariane 3

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Ariane 3
Function Medium launch vehicle
Manufacturer Aérospatiale for
ESA and Arianespace
Height 49.13 m (161.2 ft)
Diameter 3.8 m (12 ft)
Mass 234,000 kg (516,000 lb)[1]:518
Stages 3
Payload to
2,700 kg (6,000 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Ariane
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Guiana Space Centre ELA-1
Total launches 11[2]
Successes 10
Failures 1
First flight 4 August 1984
Last flight 12 June 1989
Boosters - SEP P7.35[3]
No boosters 2
Length 8.32 m (27.3 ft)
Diameter 1.07 m (3 ft 6 in)
Gross mass 19.32 tonnes (21.30 tons)
Engines P7
Thrust 1,260 kN (280,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 2314 N·s/kg
Burn time 27s
First Stage - L-140[3]
Length 19.09 m (62.6 ft)
Diameter 3.80 m (12.5 ft)
Gross mass 165.89 tonnes (182.86 tons)
Engines Viking 2B
Thrust 2,580 kN (580,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 2376 N·s/kg
Burn time 138s
Fuel UH 25 / N2O4
Second Stage - L-33[3]
Length 11.47 m (37.6 ft)
Diameter 2.60 m (8 ft 6 in)
Gross mass 39.41 tonnes (43.44 tons)
Engines Viking 4B
Thrust 784.8 kN (176,400 lbf) (vacuum)
Specific impulse 2851 N·s/kg
Burn time 128.9s
Fuel UH 25 / N2O4
Third Stage - H-10[3]
Length 9.89 m (32.4 ft)
Diameter 2.60 m (8 ft 6 in)
Gross mass 12.74 tonnes (14.04 tons)
Engines HM7B
Thrust 64.2 kN (14,400 lbf)
Specific impulse 4336 N·s/kg
Burn time 729s
Fuel LOX / LH2

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.[1]:214

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.[3][1]:216-217

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 HM7B engine, burning liquid hydrogen in liquid oxygen. On some flights, a Mage 2 kick motor was flown as a fourth stage.[citation needed]

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.[4][5]

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.[6][2]


  1. ^ a b c Harvey, Brian (2003). Europe's Space Programme: To Ariane and Beyond. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 1852337222. 
  2. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Ariane-3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ariane, Design(1)". Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Ariane 1-3". Ariane Heritage. Arianespace. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Wade, Mark. "Ariane". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Ariane 1-3". Ariane Heritage. Arianespace. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 

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