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Ariane grounded too.

Ariane grounded too

The epidemic of launch-vehicle disasters that has temporarily grounded almost the entire U.S. space program went international on May 30 with the failure of Europe's latest Ariane rocket. The rocket's first two stages performed properly, and the third ignited on time, but then its engine abruptly stopped firing. Flight safety officers on the ground blew it up, also destroying the $55 million Intelsat V communications satellite that was its payload.

The European Space Agency and Arianespace, which markets Ariane and its services, formed a board of inquiry to investigate the mishap, with the hope that it can report its findings by June 30. Early looks at telemetry data from the launching yielded no obvious clue to the problem, unlike the Ariane failure last Sept. 13. At that time, telemetry clearly indicated a third-stage propellant-valve leak, which was corrected on later Arianes.

The type of rocket just destroyed, called an Ariane 2, has been grounded pending the investigation results, but the same uncertainty also faces the larger Ariane 3 (one of which was last September's failure) and the yet untried Ariane 4, which both use the same kind of third-stage engine.
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Title Annotation:Ariane rocket
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 7, 1986
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Common grounds.

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