V114, Ariane 42L lifts off

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace - Service Optique

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An Ariane 42L, with two liquid strap-on boosters, lifts off from the Launch Zone of the Ariane Launch Complex no.2 (ELA-2) at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's space port, on December 5, 1998. The payload for this launch (V114) was Mexico's SatMex 5 communication satellite. The Ariane 42L was one of the medium-lift versions of the Ariane 4 series. Its initial payload capacity of 3,200 kg to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) was eventually increased to 3,670 kg through a series of upgrades. However, on this flight, the first combined use of a perigee velocity augmentation (PVA) maneuver and of a reduction of the propellant margins on the third stage enabled to carry 4,216 kg of payload to a subsynchronous transfer orbit with an apogee at 21,000 km. The Ariane 4 program was decided by ESA in 1982 to develop a modular family of launch vehicles based on the initial Ariane 1 to 3 designs in order to ensure continuity of Europe's guaranteed access to space. The development program was delegated to CNES, the French space agency. The maiden Ariane 4 was successfully flown on June 15, 1988. On behalf of ESA, Arianespace was in charge of industrial production, launch operations and marketing of Ariane 4. The 116th and last Ariane 4 was launched on February 15, 2003. The Ariane 4 was developed from the Ariane 2/3 design with a stretched first stage and a larger payload fairing. Ariane 4 could be declined in six versions with the adjunction of either two or four solid or liquid strap-on boosters, or a mix of two of each type.

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