Ariane 6’s initial launch target is July 9

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Ariane 6’s first launch is targeted for 9 July 2024 from Europe’s space base in French Guiana, ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher announced today at the ILA Berlin air show.

ILA Announces Ariane 6 Target Launch Date in 2024

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

The event was also attended by Walther Belzer, Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR.

Ariane 6 is Europe’s new heavy lift launch vehicle, replacing its highly successful predecessor Ariane 5. Modular and agile, Ariane 6 has an upper stage that allows it to launch multiple missions in different orbits in a single flight.

ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher said, “Ariane 6 marks a new era of autonomous, versatile European spaceflight. This powerful rocket is the culmination of years of dedication and ingenuity by thousands across Europe and, when it launches, will re-establish Europe’s free access to space. I am happy to announce that the first release attempt will be on July 9th. I would like to thank the teams in the field for their tireless work, teamwork and dedication during this last leg of the inaugural launch campaign. Ariane 6 is the rocket for Europe’s needs today, and is well suited for our future ambitions.

Ariane 6 key display

For the development of Ariane 6, ESA is the launch system architect, working with prime contractor Ariane Group for development of the launch vehicle and with CNES for development of the ground module. ESA is the operator responsible for the inaugural flight, while for subsequent flights Arianespace markets and operates the Ariane 6 launcher to launch various missions into orbit for corporate and commercial customers.

“The announcement of the planned date for the first flight of Ariane 6 puts us in the home stretch of the launch campaign and we are fully engaged in completing the final steps. This flight will mark the culmination of several years of development and testing by the ArianeGroup and its partners across Europe. It will pave the way for commercial operations and over the next two years. Ariane 6 is a powerful, versatile and scalable launcher that will ensure Europe’s autonomous access to space,” said Ariane Group CEO Martin Sion.

“Once again, the announcement of Ariane 6’s maiden flight date from the Guyana Space Center is an important step towards European sovereignty in terms of access to space. Achieving this date is thanks to the enormous efforts of all organizations at home. I would like to pay tribute to the collective achievement that has overcome months of obstacles. Now for the final fix before launch, Europe in Space is ready for takeoff: we’re all united behind Ariane 6!” exclaimed CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste.

Ariane 6 infographic: at a glance

“With 30 missions in our order book, Ariane 6 has already earned the trust of enterprise and commercial customers. We are gearing up for a second launch of Ariane 6 by the end of the year, which will steadily increase to about ten launches per year once we reach cruise speed. This is a great opportunity for Arianespace and our partners. represents an exciting challenge,” said Stefan Israel, CEO of Arianespace.

At Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 6’s payload carrier integrated many and varied payloads. The last major milestone before launch is the wetsuit rehearsal. Once this activity is complete, the Ariane 6 task force will provide a joint update on the inaugural flight.

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