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Tue, Dec 05, 2023

ArianeSpace Sets a Date for Next Model Launch

Inaugural Flight of Ariane 6 to come from June to July 2024

ArianeSpace is aiming to launch their model 6 rocket between June 15 and July 31 next year, according to ESA sources.

The first test flight won't exactly be a revenue launch, but it will contian a couple ride-along satellites, including 2 from NASA. The rocket has been long delayed, with work started nearly a decade ago when continental Europe aimed to build sufficient launch capability on its own turf. A second flight is expected by the end of next year, with a further target of 9 to 10 flights per year in 2025 and beyond. ArianeSpace is eager to get things rolling, while its smaller Vega rocket remains grounded. With the retirement of the Ariane 5 rocket, that leaves Europe with nothing to launch with, especially after Russian sanctions wiped out the ability to rely on Soyuz equipment.

"I am really happy to make this announcement today because it shows that we are on the good track to flight access to space for Europe," said ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

With the smallsat market booming, Ariane could be sitting pretty with their own launch services, providing some competition to the apparent blue-chip service, SpaceX. A number of companies have already signed deals with ArianeSpace, but even with 'rideshare' missions things will stay busy for the foreseeable future.

FMI: www.arianespace.com

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