FRIEDRICH SAURER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRIEDRICH SAURER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ariane 44L rocket launch, computer artwork. North America is seen on the Earth at lower left. The Ariane 4 was a rocket launching system designed by CNES (the French space agency) for the European Space Agency (ESA). The first successful launch was in 1988. The 44L Ariane design used four liquid-fuel booster rockets, followed by three successive central rocket stages. The top of the rocket was used to carry the payload, such as a satellite, into orbit. The entire system was expendable, and rebuilt for each launch. There were 29 44L launches between 1989 and 1999. The last Ariane 4 launch was in 2003.
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