With the maiden flight of the Ariane 6 now 18 months away (in July 2020), Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said the company had anticipated signing a manufacturing contract with ArianeGroup in the second part of last year to begin production beyond the first rocket.
Amid difficulties for the European launch industry, and with Brexit looming on the horizon, European Space Agency executives face a challenging year ahead.
European launch provider Arianespace is planning to conduct a record number of Vega launches this year, and, if OneWeb is ready, a return to launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"The end of the development of Ariane 6 and the need to increase competitiveness in the European rocket launch business compel ArianeGroup to reduce its capacity by the equivalent of 2,300 full-time jobs by 2022," the company said in a statement.
Fleet operator Eutelsat of Paris signed a contract with Arianespace to launch five satellites on the future Ariane 6 rocket by 2027.
European rocket builder ArianeGroup, the company leading development and production of the Ariane 5 and upcoming Ariane 6 rockets, on Sept. 4 awarded a contract to a Swedish supplier for a reusable engine program.
ESA is pushing European industry to continue innovating and finding efficiencies even after Vega C’s introduction in 2019 and Ariane 6’s debut in 2020.
European Space Agency member states have agreed to keep all production of P120 solid rocket boosters in Italy instead of opening a second production line in Germany.
European launch provider Arianespace expects to conduct just 23 more Ariane 5 launches before the next-generation Ariane 6 becomes its primary rocket.
Ariane 5 is one of the world’s most reliable launcher but its makers aren’t resting on their laurels. Following the 2015 creation of Airbus Safran Launchers, a joint venture between the two main contributors to the European rocket program, the company renamed itself to ArianeGroup and embarked on a journey through the quickly changing space industry landscape.
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.