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Ariane 5 Flight 501. By: Adrian Gonzalez. The plan. On June 4, 1996, the first European test flight of Ariane 5 took place. They were sending $500M of satellites into space. The failure.

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ariane 5 flight 501

Ariane 5 Flight 501

By: Adrian Gonzalez

the plan
The plan
  • On June 4, 1996, the first European test flight of Ariane 5 took place.
  • They were sending $500M of satellites into space.
the failure
The failure
  • In just about 40 seconds of launching, at an altitude of about 3700 m, the launcher veered off its flight path, broke up and exploded.
  • A 16 bit integer was executed with caused the computers 2 shut down and aerodynamics destroyed ariane 5.
  • The same code used in ariane 5 worked fine in ariane 4., so that’s why the mission failed, they believed it would work as well in ariane 5.
corrective actions
Mr. Jean-Marie Luton, (ESA Director General), and Mr. Alain Bensoussan, (CNES Chairman), immediately set up an independent Inquiry Board.

The software bug was misleading, because the failure was due to dynamics of ariane 5, different than ariane 4.

Due to the failure they will run test and re-examine the test flights .

After analyzing the data, they found out that the launcher correctly was triggered by the rupture of the electrical links between the solid boosters and the core stage which caused the self- destruction.

Corrective actions
  • This engineering failure, was due to specification and design errors in the software of the inertial reference system and the loss of information. This failure was a good way to show thats you can’t always rely and what you have, even if it has worked on the passed. The code that worked on airline 4 was also used in ariane 5 which that was the engineering failure. This failure will teach the engineers a lesson; it will show them that you have to run test and not be relying on just what they have already had.
video of the failure
Video of the failure