LIONEL BRET / LOOK AT SCIENCES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIONEL BRET / LOOK AT SCIENCES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ariane rockets, artwork. The Ariane program is a series of launch vehicles used by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French space agency (CNES) to place satellites (one at upper right) and other heavy payloads in Earth orbit. The launches are handled by CNES subsidiary Arianespace. The current rocket used (as of 2014) is the Ariane 5 (far right), with the four earlier Ariane rockets to its left: Ariane 1 (1979 to 1986), Ariane 2 (1986 to 1989), Ariane 3 (1984 to 1989) and Ariane 4 (116 launches from 1988 to 2003). Behind the rockets, a launch is shown at left, with the Ariane payload at centre being the cancelled ESA Hermes space shuttle.
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