On 4 June 1996, only about 40 seconds after initiation of the flight sequence, at an altitude of about 3700 m, the Ariane 5 broke up and exploded.

An independent Inquiry Board was appointed and gave out a complete report.

“ The failure of Ariane 501 was caused by the complete loss of guidance and attitude information 37 seconds after the start of the main engine ignition sequence (30 seconds after lift-off)