Europe's new Ariane 6 rocket set for inaugural launch from French Guiana

The Ariane 6, Europe's latest heavy-lift launch vehicle, is scheduled for its maiden voyage on 9 July from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This debut mission will carry a payload of eight satellites and various experimental instruments.

When asked about the significance of Ariane 6’s first flight, a spokesperson of the European Space Agency (ESA) said Ariane 6 will ensure European independent and autonomous access to space for primarily mid- and heavy institutional and commercial payloads that were previously launched on Soyuz and Ariane 5 launchers.

“In addition, Ariane 6 will offer a greater flexibility to launch an even wider range of payloads (as compared to its predecessor Ariane 5), including constellations and payloads of different sizes combined in a single launch. Its re-ignitable upper stage will also help inject satellites in multiple orbits and allow controlled de-orbiting in line with space debris regulation," the spokesperson said.

The rocket comes in two booster configurations: the A62 with two boosters and A64 with four boosters.

The ESA spokesperson said Ariane 6 is designed to provide great power and flexibility at a lower cost than its predecessors.

“The launcher’s configuration – with an upgraded main stage, a choice of either two or four powerful boosters and a new restartable upper stage – will provide Europe with greater efficiency and possibility as it can launch multiple missions into different orbits on a single flight, while its upper stage will deorbit itself at the end of mission.”

The launch comes a year after the final flight of its predecessor Ariane 5.

Read more on RFI English

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