News & CommentSpace Science

Ariane Failure Casts Shadow Over ESA's Science Program

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5268, pp. 1579
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5268.1579

Summary

Brussels—Ariane 5, Europe's latest space launcher, exploded on 4 June, 37 seconds into its first flight. It was carrying an important science payload: a quartet of satellites called Cluster designed to map Earth's magnetosphere. While a board of inquiry is trying to pinpoint the cause—the leading candidate is a software problem—space physicists are trying to figure out a way to resurrect the Cluster project. One satellite could probably be put together quickly, mostly from spare parts, but it will be hard to find the money to duplicate the mission.