Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket, though designed to be expendable, could one day sport a reusable engine, according to Patrick Bonguet, head of the Ariane 6 program at ArianeGroup.
The European Space Agency stepped up to be Arianespace’s first customer for the next-generation Ariane 6 rocket, while keeping Soyuz as a backup option.
Fresh off the successful launch of an all-electric satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket, satellite fleet operator Eutelsat announced June 2 a commitment to launch three more satellites with Arianespace and signaled an early interest in using the next-generation Ariane 6.
Satellite and rocket hardware builder OHB of Germany on Nov. 16 said delays in its supply chain had put pressure on its revenue in recent months but that the company’s full-year profitability would be unaffected.
The European Space Agency’s ruling council on Nov. 3 gave what should be the final endorsement needed to free up development funds for the next-generation Ariane 6 launch after a compromise on work shares between Italy and Germany.
The European Space Agency (ESA) on Sept. 13 gave final go-ahead for development of the next-generation Ariane 6 heavy-lift launch vehicle, confirming a rendezvous that many thought impossible when it was set in December 2014.
The French space agency, CNES, on July 8 updated its policy direction including investment in a U.S.-led environment-monitoring satellite, a recommitment to the International Space Station and a nuanced view of whether reusable rockets would take the commercial market by storm and make the future Ariane 6 rocket obsolete.
France’s space minister on June 1 urged a redoubled European effort in space research, and specifically in next-generation rockets, in the face of what he said were increased investments by the United States and other major space powers.
Negotiations will start by June between the now fully operational Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) and the European Space Agency on the ASL’s bid to complete construction of the future Ariane 6 rocket, ESA Launcher Director Gaele Winters said.
Europe’s rocket industry has gone 40 years by integrating its Ariane rockets vertically and then rolling them out by rail, upright, to the launch pad. That is about to end.
Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 rocket remains on track for a 2020 first launch with a cost structure allowing the heavier Ariane 64 version to advertise per-kilogram prices below today’s Space X Falcon 9, European government and industry officials said April 6.
Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch company is preparing for a major change in direction this fall as it becomes a 74-percent-owned subsidiary of Airbus Safran Launchers.
The company designing Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 rocket – to be integrated horizontally, not vertically as previous Ariane vehicles — expects to submit a firm, fixed-price bid for a first batch of rockets by the end of this year, the company’s chief executive said Jan. 28.
Europe’s Airbus Safran Launchers joint venture company, which is leading development of the Ariane 6 rocket, has fallen behind schedule as it awaits a ruling by French tax officials on an expected cash payment from Safran to Airbus.
The European Space Agency on Aug. 12 signed contracts with industry to produce an upgraded Vega small-satellite launcher for a launch in 2018 and the all-new Ariane 6 heavy-lift vehicle to debut in 2020.