DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ariane 5 rocket with the Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator (ARD) payload (top), cutaway 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 ARD launch on 21 October 1998 was the first successful Ariane 5 launch, and used the 5G (Generic) configuration. The ARD is the uppermost payload, while below it is the MaqSat 3 (Maquette Satellite 3) dummy satellite.
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