Ariane 6’s inaugural launch is scheduled for July 9

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The first launch of Ariane 6 is scheduled for July 9, 2024 from the European Spaceport in French Guiana, ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher announced at the Berlin Air Show today.

Ariane 6 target launch date announced at ILA 2024

Joseph Aschbacher was joined by Ariane 6 team partners, ArianeGroup CEO Martin Sion, CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste and Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël on stage to announce the milestone.

Walter Pelzer, Director General of the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center, was also present on this occasion.

Ariane 6 is Europe’s new heavy launch vehicle to replace its highly successful predecessor, Ariane 5. Modular and flexible, Ariane 6 features a reoperable upper stage allowing it to launch multiple missions in different orbits in a single flight.

ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher said: “Ariane 6 represents a new era of independent and versatile European space travel. This powerful rocket is the culmination of many years of dedication and ingenuity by thousands from across Europe and, when launched, will re-establish Europe’s independent access to… Space. I am pleased to announce that the first launch attempt will be on July 9. I would like to thank the teams on the ground for their hard work, teamwork and dedication in this final phase of the inaugural launch campaign. “Ariane 6 is Europe’s rocket for today’s needs, and it is capable of Adapting to our future ambitions.”

Ariane 6 visual key

For the development of Ariane 6, ESA is working as launch system engineer with prime contractor ArianeGroup to develop the launch vehicle and with CNES to develop the ground segment. ESA is the operator responsible for the inaugural flight while for subsequent flights Arianespace is the launch service provider that markets and operates the Ariane 6 launch pad for institutional and commercial customers to launch a variety of missions into orbit.

“Announcing the scheduled maiden flight of Ariane 6 puts us in the final phase of the launch campaign and we are fully engaged in completing the final steps. This flight will be the culmination of years of development and testing by ArianeGroup teams and partners across Europe. It will pave the way for Commercial operations and a significant increase over the next two years, said Ariane 6 is a powerful, versatile and scalable launch platform that will ensure Europe’s independent access to space.

“Once again, the announcement of the date of the inaugural flight of Ariane 6 from the Guyana Space Center is a decisive step towards European sovereignty in terms of access to space. Reaching this date has been made possible thanks to the tremendous efforts of all entities in the region. I would like to pay tribute to the collective achievement of Overcoming obstacles over the course of months. Now to the final adjustments before the launch. Europa is ready to launch: We are all united behind Ariane 6!

Ariane 6 chart: at a glance

“With 30 missions on our order book, Ariane 6 has already gained the trust of institutional and commercial customers. We are preparing to make the second launch of Ariane 6 by the end of the year, followed by a steady rise to around ten launches per year once we reach cruising speed. Stefan Israel added, “It represents a great challenge for Arianespace and our partners,” said Arianespace CEO.

At the European Spaceport in French Guiana, many and varied payloads are integrated on the Ariane 6 payload carrier. The last major milestone before launch is the wet dress rehearsal. Once this activity is completed, the Ariane 6 Task Force will provide a joint update on the inaugural flight.

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