The European Space Agency is now aiming at the end of 2023 for the inaugural launch of its next-generation Ariane 6 rocket, confirming alleged delays in planned development plans. The confirmation came Wednesday evening at a briefing for the European Space Agency, during which CEO Josef Schbacher announced that The inaugural Ariane 6 flight is now expected to be no less than the fourth quarter of 2023However, a warning that this period is still subject to further changes.
“With a project of this scale, it should be clear that this is the planned date and that a number of key milestones must be achieved successfully and in time for this program to remain in place.”
In particular we are talking about Three main goals to be achieved By the first quarter of 2023. The first is the successful completion of a hot-fire test campaign at the upper stadium, followed by that of the central stadium, which will be completed directly on the launch pad in French Guiana, and finally the third step will be the final review of the launch system. The goal is to complete these challenges by the first quarter of 2023.
The fully stacked 60-meter high-endurance rocket has been transported to the launch pad at the European Spaceport in French Guiana. Ariane 6 is designed for Lift 4.5 tons at altitudes up to 800 km for geosynchronous orbits, and up to 10.5 tons for geostationary transfer orbits (GEO).
France’s Arianespace is developing the missile on behalf of ESA, which will replace its predecessor, the now-defunct Ariane 5. But even this ambitious project has suffered multiple delays, just think that the Ariane 6 was originally supposed to fly in 2020, but the inaugural launch was pushed back to the end of 2022, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this period of time it was hoped that any technical issues would be resolved, but the ESA clearly prefers to move with lead feet.
It must be said that the outbreak of war in Ukraine did not help, and the European Space Agency had to find other partners for the Ariane 6 engines after breaking off relations with Russia. The launch of the European Space Agency’s Euclid infrared space telescope has also suffered, as it was supposed to launch this year aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, but it now looks like SpaceX’s reliable Falcon 9 rocket will switch over to avoid further delays.
Ariane 6 is not yet operational, but its schedule is already full of commitments, which will in fact arrive until at least 2029. Earlier this year, Amazon booked it for 18 launches to carry Project Kuiper’s Internet satellites. In addition, Ariane 6 is expected to provide the European Space Agency (ESA) Galileo with a global navigation satellite system (multiple launches from 2023 to 2025), a Meteosat meteorological satellite (2024), and an Earth Return Orbiter for a sample return to Mars (2026). and the upcoming PLATO space telescope (2026). To be able to support several orders, Arianespace is already designing two more Ariane 6 rockets at its facilities in France and Germany, and components have already been ordered.
Ariane 6 It is defined as The rocket that will give Europe its independence in the field of space And as such it is very much awaited.