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The European launcher Ariane 5
The French space program began after the Second World War, but it took on a new dimension with the creation of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in 1961. The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace (Air and Space Museum) exhibits French achievements with two life-size models of the Ariane rocket on the tarmac at Le Bourget. The 54-metre high Ariane 5 launcher has a central part and two lateral thrusters. The flagship of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 1996, Ariane 5 sends commercial and military satellites into space. Its power allows it to reach 4,971 mph (8 000 km/h) two minutes after lift-off.
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