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Space Scientists' New Workhorse

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Science  24 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5265, pp. 1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5265.1095b


Brussels—When the European Space Agency (ESA) was founded 21 years ago, one of the key objectives was to provide Europe with independent access to space. The enormously successful Ariane program is the result of that principle: Ariane launchers now account for more than 50% of the world's commercial satellite launches. That success is based on a keep-it-simple strategy, in contrast to the very high-tech approach adopted for NASA's space shuttles. Designers are continuing with the strategy for Ariane 5, the latest in the Ariane series, which is due to make its debut next week carrying a major European science mission.