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Ariane 503 launch carrying ARD, 1998
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- Title Ariane 503 launch carrying ARD, 1998
- Released 01/01/1998 12:00 am
- Copyright ESA/CNES/CSG
The Ariane 503 launch carrying the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD) from Kourou on 21 October 1998. ARD will be a major step towards developing a European return-to-Earth capability. The 2.8 tonne, 2.8-metre diameter unmanned Apollo-shaped capsule was designed to fit within Ariane 5's dual-launch performance. Some 200 sensors monitored aerodynamic, aerothermodynamic, thermal protection and reentry blackout conditions. Ariane 5 injected ARD into a suborbital trajectory peaking at 830 km altitude for splashdown and recovery in the Pacific Ocean after a 100-minute flight.