Ariane heritage > Milestones
The operational careers of the Ariane 1-4 launchers – beginning with Ariane 1's maiden flight in December 1979 and concluding with the final Ariane 4 launch in February 2003 – enabled Arianespace to become the world leader in commercial launch services.
- February 15 – The Ariane 4 launcher family ends its career with a trademark highly accurate mission that carried the Intelsat 907 payload. The launch was Ariane 4's 116th flight.
May 3 – An Ariane 4 successfully orbits the Spot 5 satellite, the 200th payload launched by Arianespace.
April 16 – Ariane 4’s on-target mission with NSS-7 marks the 150th flight of an Ariane launch vehicle.
- June 7 – With Flight 141, Ariane 4 marks its 62nd successful launch in a row, as Arianespace's no. 1 customer, Intelsat, places into orbit the first new Intelsat IX-series satellites.
- February 7 – Two primary European military communications payloads are launched together by Ariane for the first time: Flight 139 carries Sicral for the Italian defense ministry, and Skynet 4F for the British Ministry of Defence, using an Ariane 44L.
- October 29 – Arianespace's Flight 134 launches first satellite for Europe*Star UK Limited, the new telecommunications operator created through a joint venture between Alcatel Spacecom and Loral Space & Communications.
- August 17 – Arianespace successfully orbits the Egyptian Nilesat 102 and Brazilian Brasilsat B4 satellites; Flight 131 marks the 55th consecutive successful launch of Ariane 4.
- December 3 – Ariane 4 sets a world record with its 50th consecutive launch success. The milestone occurred on Flight 124, which carried France's Helios 1B reconnaissance.
- December 5 – Geostationary transfer orbit injection is optimized to exploiting Ariane 4's third-stage performance reserve. The new procedure is used with an Ariane 42L that carries the SatMex 5 satellite.
- October 28 – Flight 113's payload of 4,946 kg. (10,881 lb.) sets all-time record for an Ariane 44L.
- December 1 – Arianespace announces an order for 20 additional Ariane 4s from European industry. The order, estimated at 12 billion French francs, will enhance Arianespace's launch services and ensure service continuity in the booming satellite launch market.
- September 23 – Ariane marks its 100th launch with a mission performed by a 42 L version of Ariane 4. The flight uses the last of the P9 production lot of 50 vehicles ordered by Arianespace in 1989.
- January 30 – An Ariane 44 L version placed 4,900 kg. (10,799 lb.) into GTO – an absolute record for an Ariane 4. The passengers are Argentina's Nahuel 1A and the U.S. GE-2 telecommunications satellites.
- September 24 – The 50th Ariane 4 is launched. An Ariane 4 AR 42L is used, and carries the U.S. Telstar 402r telecommunications satellite.
- August 29 – An Ariane 4 AR 44P version orbits the 3,409-kg. (7,513-lb.) Japanese N-Star telecommunications satellite on the 77th Ariane mission. With this flight, the total cumulative payload mass put into orbit by Ariane launchers since the start of operations surpasses 200,000 kg. (440,800 lb.).
- July 7 – 50th Ariane mission from the Guiana Space Center's ELA-2 launch complex is conducted . This mission is the 75th flight of an Ariane, and uses the Ariane 4's AR 40 configuration. Payload is France's Helios 1A military reconnaissance satellite, with the French Cerise and Spanish UPM/Sat 1 auxiliary payloads.
- April 21, 1995 – Last flight of an H10+ third stage. The mission uses an AR 44LP version, and launches the Intelsat 706(A) telecommunications spacecraft.
- November 20 – Final mission with the basic H10 third stage. This mission uses an Ariane 4 AR 44LP, and launches the Intelsat 701 telecommunications satellite.
- May 12 – The Ariane 4 AR42L with two liquid strap-ons makes its first flight. Primary payload is Luxembourg's Astra 1C telecommunications satellite, with the French Arsene amateur radio spacecraft as an auxiliary payload.
- April 15 – First flight of the improved H10+ third stage, which carries 300 kg. more propellant – increasing Ariane 4's lift capability by 110 kg. The launcher is an Ariane 44L version, which carries the French Telecom 2B and Inmarsat II-F4 telecommunications satellites. This flight marked the 50th launch of an Ariane, and also is the first launcher from the P9 batch of 50 Arianes ordered in 1989 by Arianespace.
- April 4, 1991 – Maiden flight of an Ariane 4 AR 44P, with four solid strap-on boosters. The Canadian Anik E-2 is the launcher's payload.
- November 20 – The Ariane 4's AR 42P version, powered by two solid propellant strap-ons, makes its first flight. Payloads are the U.S. Satcom C-1 and GStar 4 telecommunications satellites.
- January 22 – First flight of an AR 40 version of Ariane 4. France's Spot 2 Earth resources satellite is the primary payload, with four small satellites carried as piggyback payloads on the first ASAP deployment system
- July 11 – Final flight from the Guiana Space Center's original ELA-1 launch complex. This mission, the 32nd flight of an Ariane, uses an Ariane 3 version, and carries Europe's Olympus telecommunications satellite. 1989 Arianespace places order for the P9 production batch of 50 Ariane launchers.
- June 5 – Maiden flight of an Ariane 4 AR 44L version with four liquid fuel strap-ons. Payload is Japan's Superbird A and Germany's DFS Kopernikus 1 telecommunications satellites.
- April 1 – Ariane 2 performs its final flight.
- June 15 – First flight of an Ariane 4. The mission uses an AR 44LP version with two solid and two liquid strap-on boosters. Payload is three satellites: PanAmSat's PanAmSat 1, Europe's Meteosat P2 weather satellite, and the Amsat IIIC amateur radio spacecraft. The Spelda multiple satellite payload carrier system is used for the first time.
- November 21 – First successful flight of an Ariane 2.
- March 28 – The first Ariane mission is conducted from ELA-2. The flight, Ariane's 17th launch, uses an Ariane 3 version.
- February 21 – The final Ariane 1 launch is performed on a flight that also marks Ariane's first mission to heliosynchronous orbit.
- August 1 – The Guiana Space Center's second launch complex, ELA-2, is declared operational.
- August 4 – Maiden flight of the Ariane 3 increased-lift version.
- May 22 – Arianespace performs its first commercial mission, using an Ariane 1 launcher version.
- January 13 – ESA decides to proceed with the Ariane 4 development program.
- July 3 – The European Space Agency (ESA) decides to proceed with the Ariane 2/3 follow-on development program.
- December 24 – First flight of the Ariane 1 launcher. The mission is performed from Guiana Space Center's ELA-1 launch facility.