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A reproduction of a Ariane rocket at Expo 92 area.

Ariane is a series of a European civilian expendable launch vehicles for space launch use. The name comes from the French spelling of the mythological character Ariadne.

France first proposed the Ariane project and it was officially agreed upon at the end of 1973 after delicate discussions between France, Germany and the UK. The project was Western Europe's second attempt to develop its own launcher following the unsuccessful Europa project. The Ariane project was code-named L3S (the French acronym for third-generation substitution launcher). The European Space Agency (ESA) charge the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) to the development of all Ariane launchers and of the testing facilities; while Arianespace, a CNES commercial subsidiary created in 1980, handles production, operations and marketing.

Arianespace launches Ariane rockets from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana, where the proximity to the equator gives a significant advantage for the launch.
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