DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ariane 5 rocket, exploded artwork. The Ariane 5 launch system is used by the European Space Agency and the French space agency (CNES) to place satellites and other heavy payloads in Earth orbit. Ariane 5 launches, carried out by Arianespace, began in 1996. Over 50 successful launches have taken place since 1998. The payloads and components shown here are the faring (top), two satellites (blue and gold), the second (upper) stage (centre), the main cryogenic stage (liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel, bottom) with the two solid-fuel boosters either side.
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