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Ariane 6 first flight planned for last part of 2023

on 21 October 2022

Ariane 6, the new heavy-lift launch system being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), will make its inaugural flight as soon as the fourth quarter of 2023. Briefing media, Director General Josef Aschbacher said sufficient progress had been made over the past several months to anticipate a Q4 2023 first flight, pending the realisation of three key milestones before April next year.

Aschbacher stressed: “With a project of this magnitude it needs to be clear that this is a planned date and the programme will still need to make the successful and timely achievement of a number of key milestones for this schedule to remain valid.”

Specifically, he said, three critical milestones must be achieved by the first quarter of 2023, related to the upper stage, the Vulcain 2.1 engine and launch system qualification review. 

Ariane 6 is Europe’s new-generation launcher, designed to secure guaranteed access to space for Europe at an affordable price for European institutional users.

The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) obtained Romania’s participation in the programme for the development of the latest European rocket, Ariane 6, at the ESA Ministerial Council in 2014. By prioritising Romania's participation in this programme, ROSA provided the space industry in Romania with the opportunity to enrol in the competition for contracts for developing the European launcher's components. Romania's admission in this program next to 12 other ESA Member States shows that our country already has competitive industrial capacities and contributes to the technological development, innovation and training in niche areas, reinforcing the role Romania plays in the European and global space strategy.

The participating states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

More details here.

Image credit: ESA-Manuel Pedoussaut