Ariane launchers

ESA's Ariane launchers showcase two different approaches to launch-vehicle design. Ariane 4 was the final stage in the evolution of the original Ariane rocket, with a slender design harking back to the French Diamant of the 1960s. Its Viking rockets were also developed from the Vexin that powered Diamant, and it used traditional hypergolic propellants. Ariane 5, in contrast, is a totally new rocket built by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) - the first European rocket to use cryogenic propellants.

liquid hydrogen storage tank solid strap-on booster liquid strap on booster first-stage thrust frame

nozzle swivelling system solid rocket booster engine nozzle liquid hydrogen storage tank solid strap-on booster liquid strap on booster

Ariane 1 Ariane 2 Ariane 3 Ariane 4

first-stage thrust frame

THE ARIANE SERIES

ESA's early rockets, from Ariane 1 (first launched in 1979) through to Ariane 4, were all evolutionary, developed from the basic design of Ariane 1. Ariane 5, conversely, was a completely new design, first launched in 1996 but not completely successful until its third flight, in 1998. It, too, is now proving reliable and has started to spawn its own family of "Ariane 5 Evolution" variants, typically using different upper stages on each launch.

CRYOGENIC LAUNCHER

The Ariane 5 (left) is a completely new vehicle, developed in the 1990s. Unlike previous Ariane rockets, it uses liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) as fuel for its central stage. These more powerful propellants need to be stored at low temperature and are termed cryogenic.

HEIGHT

54.05m (177ft 4in)

HEIGHT

54.05m (177ft 4in)

CORE OIAMETER

5.4m (17ft 8in)

TOTAL MASS

746,000kg (1,644,0001b)

ENGINES

1 x Vulcain (LOX/LH22)

2 x P230 SRBs

LAUNCH THRUST

1,162,531 kgf

(2,562,800 Ibf)

MANUFACTURER EAOS

MANUFACTURER EAOS

nozzle swivelling system solid rocket booster engine nozzle

Ariane 1 Ariane 2 Ariane 3 Ariane 4

Ariane 5

Ariane 5 Evolution

11 February 1970

Japan's first satellite, Ohsumi, is launched into orbit by an ISAS rocket.

9 September 1975

A NASDA N-1 rocket launches the test satellite Kiku.

7 April 1978

NASDA launches an experimental direct broadcast television satellite called Yuri.

Japan in space

For a nation that did not fire even an experimental rocket until the mid-1950s, Japan rapidly established itself as a force to be reckoned with, launching a multitude of satellites and spaceprobes from 1970 onwards.

March 1986

The ISAS probes Suisei and Sakigake fly past Halley's Comet.

2 December 1990

Reporter Toyohiro Akiyama becomes Japan's first cosmonaut.

12 September 1992

Mamoru Mohri becomes the first Japanese astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle.

1 October 2003

NASDA, ISAS, and the NAL are merged to form a new agency, JAXA.

19 November 2005

Japan's Hayabusa probe lands and tries to collect samples from the asteroid Itokawa.

Hayabusa Jaxa Launch 2003

SPACEPORT PANORAMA

JAXA's main launch site, at Tanegashima, is probably the world's most picturesque spaceport -although launches do have to be timed to fit oround the local fishing industry.

The beginnings of the Japanese space programme can be traced back to the enthusiasm of one man - aeronautical engineer and Tokyo University professor Hideo Itokawa, nicknamed Dr. Rocket. After conducting a number of successful launches of small rockets in the 1950s, Itokawa persuaded the Japanese government to fund his Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS).

In 1969 a second organization, the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) was established, charged by the government with turning Japan into a major space power. Although the presence of rival agencies led to occasional clashes, and split the available expertise, each body had its own specialist areas: ISAS concentrated on space research projects such as astronomy satellites and planetary probes, while NASDA focused on the development of commercial launch vehicles, other satellite applications, and manned spaceflight.

Both agencies had an impressive record of success throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but a series of expensive failures in the 1990s ultimately forced the Japanese government to merge them (along with NAL, Japan's National Aerospace Laboratory) into a new organisation, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003.

SPACEPORT PANORAMA

JAXA's main launch site, at Tanegashima, is probably the world's most picturesque spaceport -although launches do have to be timed to fit oround the local fishing industry.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment