Spaceflight Now: Mission Report

The Ariane 44P rocket
Posted: January 7, 2001

The Ariane 4 has become the world's workhorse commercial launch vehicle. Arianespace has captured over half of the commercial satellite launch market.

The Ariane 44P vehicle is one of six family members in Arianespace's Ariane 4 rocket fleet. All six versions use the same three-stage liquid-fueled core rocket. The 44P is distinguished with its four solid-fueled strap-on boosters attached to the first stage.

The Ariane 4 family's payload lift performance to geosynchronous transfer orbit ranges from 2,000 kg to 4,900 kg. The Ariane 44P can carry payloads up to 3,460 kg.

Ariane 44P its maiden flight in April 1991 on Flight 43. For the launch of Eurasiasat 1 on Flight 137, this will be 14th use of an Ariane 44P.

First stage
The first stage is built by EADS Launch Vehicles. Fitted with four Snecma-built Viking 5 engines, the stage provides the initial three minutes of powered flight toward orbit. The stage is 28.4 meters long, 3.8 meters in diameter and weighs 17.6 tons. Internally, the stage features an interstage structure at its top where the second stage is attached. Below that is the nitrogen tetroxide propellant tank. Moving further downward is an intertank structure and the hydrazine fuel tank.
First stage
Four PAPs
Attached to the first stage are the solid-fueled strap-on boosters, nicknamed PAPs. These rockets also augment Ariane's liftoff thrust. The boosters are 12.5 meters long, 1.1 meters in diameter and weigh 3.1 tons. They are built by Fiat Avio.
Second stage
Ariane's second stage is built by Astrium. The stage has one Snecma-built Viking 4 engine and burns hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. Standing 11.6 meters long, 2.6 meters in diameter and weighing 3.4 tons, the stage fires for the about two minutes after the first stage is jettisoned.
Second stage
Third stage
The third stage is a powerful cryogenic upper stage used to deliver the Ariane's satellite cargo into the intended orbit around Earth. The EADS Launch Vehicles-built stage used a single Snecma HM 7B engine. The stage is 11.1 meters long, 2.6 meters in diameter and weighs 1.67 tons. Internally, the stage has a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tank. The stage also has the adapter and satellite cargo resting on its forward section.
Third stage
The rocket's brains, known as the vehicle equipment bay, with the guidance computer and other controlling electronics is mounted atop the third stage. The donut-shaped VEB is one-meter long, four meters in diameter, weighs 520 kg and is built by Astrium.
Payload fairing
Protecting the satellite cargo during the early portions of launch and ascent through the atmosphere is the payload fairing. This shroud, built by Contraves, is 8.6 meters long, 4 meters in diameter and weighs 750 kg.

Flight data file
Vehicle: Ariane 44P
Payload: Eurasiasat 1
Launch date: Jan. 8, 2001
Launch window: 2208-2351 GMT (5:08-6:51 p.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-2, Kourou, French Guiana

Pre-launch Briefing
Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of the events to occur during launch.

Eurasiasat 1 satellite - Overview of Turkish telecommunications spacecraft.

Ariane directory - See our previous coverage of Ariane rocket launches.