Ariel programme

Ariel programme

Ariel was a British satellite research programme conducted between the early 1960s and 1980s. Six satellites were launched as part of the programme, starting with the first British satellite, Ariel 1, which was launched on 26 April 1962, and concluding with the launch of Ariel 6 on 2 June 1979. The first four were devoted to studying the ionosphere, the remaining two to X-ray astronomy and cosmic-ray studies.

The programme was conducted by the Science Research Council. The first two spacecraft were constructed by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration,[1] with subsequent spacecraft being produced in Britain. All launches were conducted using American rockets; Ariel 1 on a Thor-Delta, and the remainder on Scouts.


Satellite Launch date Carrier rocket Launch site COSPAR ID Comments
Ariel 1[2] 1962-04-26 Thor-Delta Cape Canaveral 1962-015A
Ariel 2 1964-03-27 Scout Wallops Island 1964-015A
Ariel 3 1967-05-05 Scout Vandenberg AFB 1967-042A The first artificial satellite designed and constructed in the United Kingdom.
Ariel 4 1971-12-11 Scout Vandenberg 1971-109A
Ariel 5 1974-10-15 Scout San Marco 1974-077A Satellite operations were directed from a control centre at the Appleton Lab
Ariel 6 1979-06-02 Scout Wallops Island 1979-047A The last satellite in the Ariel series.


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