The Ariane 5 booster recovery system has been developed by Dutch Space to enable post flight inspection of boosters, as part of the Ariane 5 quality assurance program. The booster recovery system has been presented on the first (qualification) flights and on a regular basis thereafter.
Booster Recovery System Schematic
The booster recovery system consists of an altitude determination and command system, a nose cone separation system and a parachute system that includes a canister as well as the drogue and main anchor brackets. The main functional requirement is to stabilize and decelerate the 40,000 kg booster (88,200 lb) to a vertical attitude (+/- 100 ) and a velocity lower than 27 m/s (89ft/sec) suitable for sea landing and recovery.
The nose cone separation system includes a pyrotechnic expandable tube to release the nose cone and four pyro pistons to eject the 140 kg (308.7 lb) nose cone away from the booster with sufficient energy to extract the auxiliary parachute pack.
The parachute system was subcontracted by Dutch Space to the Scientific Research Institute of Parachute Constructions (sripc) in Moscow which used their energia booster recovery parachute system as the starting point for Ariane 5. The main parachute has a nominal diameter of 48.1 meter (157.8 ft) and is constructed of nylon and aramid material. The parachute canister is 2.14 meter (7 ft) long and has a diameter of 1.09 meter (3 ft 7 in). The mass of parachute pack including canister is 1200 kg (2646 lb).