Published: April 1, 2005
In the period of 1962-1973 the European Launcher Development Organisation has worked to develop a rocket called Europa partly based on the British Blue Streak missile. The Europa project newer succeeded in launching a satellite and in 1973 the project was cancelled.
In 1974 the European Space Agency ESA was formed by merging ELDO with the European Space Research Organisation space organisation ESRO. One of the ESA first major projects was the development of the LS3-launcher. (LS3 simply means Europa 3 substitute). It was later renamed to Ariane.
In 1974 and 1975 France and Germany had built two communication satellites Symphonie A and B, which were launched by US delta rockets. But the Americans in reality had a monopoly in launching commercial communication satellites and they demanded, that the Symphonie Satellites only served experimental purposes. This experience was one of the reasons, that especially France invested lot of resources in development of an independent European commercial launcher.
The Ariane was developed under the leadership of the French space agency CNES in corporation with West Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
On December 24, 1979 the first Ariane was launched from Kourou in French Guiana. It successfully set the test satellite CAT-1 (capsule Ariane Technologique) into orbit.
For the next 7 years ariane 1 served as a satellite and the last Ariane 1 launched the Giotto probe to its rendezvous with Halley’s comet.
Sources and books:
(This is only a little selection of the many sources for the model.)
www.capcomespace.net (In french - but simply the best)
Peter Alway: Rockets of the world
Tim Furniss: History of space vehicles
Brian Harvey: Europe's Space Programme: To Ariane and Beyond
William Huon: Ariane une épopée européenne