In July 2023 local time, the last Ariane 5 blasted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Relive the moment from up close in this 360° video showing the liftoff and Ariane 5 soaring to orbit.
The audio comes from the camera itself that was clamped to a steel cable on a northern ramp surrounding the Ariane 5 flame trench – about 50 m from the ZL3 launchpad. Despite being so close to the launch pad, the camera was only protected against humidity and rain. A solar panel provided extra power to the camera as it had to record for a long time to capture the liftoff as no people are allowed so close to near the launchpad during the countdown and blastoff.
Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket completed its final flight, placing two payloads – the German aerospace agency DLR’s Heinrich Hertz experimental communications satellite and the French communications satellite Syracuse 4b – into their planned geostationary transfer orbits.
Total payload mass at liftoff was about 7700 kg – 7000 kg for the two satellites, and the rest for payload adapters and carrying structures.
The development of the Ariane series of launch vehicles is an expression of Europe’s position, dating to the 1960s, that participation in the new space age demanded an independent launch capability. Several European countries thus joined forces to develop a launch vehicle. This project, called Europa, was ultimately unsuccessful but in 1975 the European Launcher Development Organisation created to oversee it was merged with the European Space Research Organisation to create ESA, which initiated the Ariane programme.
That spirit of co-operation ultimately delivered Ariane 5 and the smaller Vega series of launch vehicles. ESA continues this work with its Member States and industrial partners to meet new market realities with Ariane 6, the newest launch vehicle in the Ariane family.
Credits: ESA-Manuel Pedoussaut
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