The first launch of Ariane 6 is postponed to 2023

The debut launch of the new Ariane 6 rocket is postponed from the end of 2022 to 2023. This was announced by the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Josef Aschbacher.

Ariane 6 rocket (Ariane 64 and Ariane 62 modifications) in the artist’s image. Source: ESA

The Ariane 6 rocket should become the main workhorse of ESA and launch operator Arianespace for this decade. It will be produced in two main versions Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 equipped, respectively, with two and four solid-fuel boosters. Ariane 62 will be able to carry up to 10.3 tons of cargo to low Earth orbit (LEO) and up to 5 tons to geotransfer, Ariane 64 — up to 21.6 tons to LEO and up to 11.5 tons to geotransfer. The new carrier will have to replace the Soyuz and Ariane 5 rockets.

Initially, the debut of Ariane 6 was supposed to take place back in 2022. However, difficulties with the manufacture of various components of the rocket and the consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led to the fact that the date of the first flight of the rocket was shifted several times. A few weeks ago, representatives of Arianespace announced that the launch of Ariane 6 will take place at the end of 2022. But judging by the words of Josef Aschbacher, now it will be shifted to 2023. So far, Arianespace has not commented on the reason for the new transfer.

Ariane 6 is not the only new European rocket debuting in the near future. On July 7, the first Vega C launch will take place from the Kourou Cosmodrome. This is a new modification of the Vega light rocket, capable of putting up to two tons of cargo into orbit. The Ukrainian RD-843 engine is installed on its upper stage.

Recall that Arianespace recently received an order from Amazon for 18 Ariane 6 rockets. They will be used to launch satellites of the Kuiper global satellite Internet system. This is the largest contract in the company’s history.

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