• Home
  • Current congress
  • Public Website
  • My papers
  • root
  • browse
  • IAC-08
  • D2
  • 2
  • paper
  • Ariane 5 launcher for space exploration missions

    Paper number



    Mr. David Iranzo-Greus, Astrium Space Transportation, France


    Mrs. Catherine Poincheval, EADS Astrium Space Transportation, France


    Mr. Philippe Berthe, EADS Astrium Space Transportation, France



    On March 9th an Ariane 5ES launcher with a storable upper stage put in orbit the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), one of the two major European elements of the International Space Station.  This was the fourth Ariane 5 launch carrying a space exploration mission, since the ATV is a major cornerstone in the worldwide human space exploration effort.  Before this mission, Ariane 5 had been used on three very different space exploration missions:  the XMM telescope launch in 1999 which has provided very valuable scientific results, the SMART-1 spacecraft launch in 2003 which was the first European lunar mission, and the Rosetta spacecraft launch in 2004 which is on its way to the first comet rendezvous in 2014.
    Through these missions, Ariane 5 has demonstrated its capability to contribute, in very different ways to the needs of space exploration.  In the near future, additional similar missions are foreseen with Ariane 5, such as the Herschel-Planck and James Webb Space Telescope.
    Looking further into the future, Ariane 5, in its current or future versions, could be a major contributor to the international effort in space exploration, be it human or robotic.  The launcher will of course continue to service the ISS through the launch of additional ATVs in the coming years.
    Going beyond low-Earth orbit, Ariane 5 could be used to provide logistics support for the international effort on Moon exploration.  The launcher would be capable of sending lunar orbiters to support surface operations but could as well launch a lunar lander that could put more that one ton on the surface of the Moon.
    For Mars exploration, the Ariane 5 launcher is capable of sending several tons on a direct trajectory towards the red planet, allowing orbital and surface exploration but also contributing to a future Mars Sample Return mission.
    Finally, the Ariane 5 design was initially conceived to launch a crew, and therefore the launcher has an inherent human mission capability.  Besides this appropriate design, the last ten years of operations have demonstrated the high and improving reliability of the system.  In order to sustain the international space exploration effort, and as a complement to existing systems, Ariane 5 could provide a human spaceflight capability for Europe.
    This paper will present some of the capabilities of the Ariane 5 launcher for several exploration missions.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.D2.2.2.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.