Help with dating ariane
On 21 September 1973, the legal agreement for the L3S, was signed.Under this agreement, the Europa III was formally cancelled, while the L3S would be developed as a multinational project.With lift-off mass of 210,000 kg (460,000 lb), Ariane 1 was able to put in geostationary transfer orbit one satellite or two smaller of a maximal weight of 1,850 kg (4,080 lb).The cost of program is estimated at 2 billion euros.In order to deliver the rocket from the production facility to the launch site, each stage of the Ariane would be shipped on barges down the Seine to Le Havre, where they would be loaded onto an ocean-going vessel and be conveyed across the Atlantic Ocean to Kourou; a combination of roads and railways would transport the components inland to the space center itself.
It was decided that Ariane should launch on 15 December 1979 and, 38 hours prior the launch, the countdown was initiated; however, a technical issue was encountered in the final hour which led to an abort.
In 1973, eleven European countries decided to pursue joint collaboration in the field of space exploration and formed a new pan-national organisation to undertake this mission, the European Space Agency (ESA).
For some time prior to the ESA's formation, France had been lobbying for the development of a new European expendable launch system to serve as a replacement for the Europa rocket; one proposed successor in the form of a refined Europa, referred to as the Europa IIIB, was studied but was found to be too ambitious and costly.
During 19, preparations and testing commenced in anticipation of the first Ariane launch; while some issues were encountered during ground tests and engine firings, these had resulted in no meaningful delays and these milestones had been successfully passed.
The ESA decided that there should be a total of four development flights flown prior to initiating commercial operations; however, vacant space was made available to operators for these flights on the proviso that success was not guaranteed.
Despite fears that the launch would have to be delayed for a month, it was decided to resume the countdown for a second attempt.