The Ariane programme refers to a set of launchers designed by the Arianespace consortium on behalf of the ESA. It was born at the end of the 70’s and saw its full development with the Ariane 1, Ariane 3 and Ariane 4 launchers. The first four models were followed by Ariane 5, developed at the beginning of the 80’s to meet the market demands, which required heavy launchers to increase the weight of the on-board payloads. Ariane 5 is capable of carrying loads up to 10 tons in a geostationary transfer orbit (Gto).
Ariane was launched from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guyana, which is ideal due to its proximity to the equator, which allows a significant advantage as regards the launch of vectors.