DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator (ARD), exploded artwork. This unmanned European Space Agency capsule was designed to test re-entry technologies. It was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket test flight on 21 October 1998 from the Guiana Space Centre, and after release attained an altitude of 830 kilometres. As it fell back to Earth it re-entered the atmosphere using first its heat shield, and then parachutes, to achieve a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean. Data from the successful flight and re-entry were transmitted to ground control stations for analysis. The ARD was built by the French company Aerospatiale (now part of EADS).
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