Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it made 113 successful launches. It was known to be an extremely versatile launcher.
The Ariane 4 proved ideal for launching communications and Earth observation satellites as well as those for scientific research. During its working life, Ariane 4 captured 50% of the market in launching commercial satellites, demonstrating Europe's ability to compete in the commercial launch sector.