Ariane 5-ESCA, the latest of Arianespace's (France) rockets is the most powerful commercial rocket launcher currently in use. It is capable of placing a 10 tonne payload into geosynchronous orbit (36,000km, 22,000miles). It exploded on its maiden flight on 11 December 2002. It is the latest version of the Ariane 5 rocket, which was first launched on 4 June 1996. It has failed four times in total out of 14 launches.
Comments below may relate to previous holders of this record.