Europe’s Ariane 6 rocket is set for inaugural launch on July 9

An artist's illustration of an Ariane 6 rocket using four boosters (A64)
An artist’s illustration of an Ariane 6 rocket using four boosters (A64). (Image credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

The inaugural launch of Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 rocket is set for July 9, 2024, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The heavy-lift launcher Ariane 6 is the successor to the extremely successful Ariane 5 rocket. The European Space Agency (ESA) announced the retirement of Ariane 5 from its service when it flew last time on July 6, 2023.

The powerful and versatile Ariane 6 rocket will ensure Europe’s independent access to space. 

The European private aerospace company ArianeGroup has developed the powerful Ariane 6 rocket under the guidance of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Over 60 meters tall, the Ariane 6 rocket will weigh almost 900 tons when launched with a full payload.

The components of the Ariane 6 rocket, with its two variants
The components of the Ariane 6 rocket, with its two variants. (Image credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

The Ariane 6 rocket will be available in two variants:

— Ariane 62 (the main Ariane 6 rocket with two boosters), which is capable of launching approximately 4500 kg payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or 10,300 kg payloads into low Earth orbit.

— Ariane 64 (the main Ariane 6 rocket with four boosters), which is capable of launching approximately 11,500 kg payloads into geostationary transfer orbit and 20,600 kg payloads into low Earth orbit.

The main Ariane 6 rocket has two stages:

— the lower stage, or core stage, which is powered by a liquid oxygen-hydrogen Vulcain engine. This lower stage, together with the solid rocket boosters, can deliver 135 tons of thrust in vacuum.

— the upper stage, which is powered by a liquid oxygen-hydrogen Vinci engine. This Vinci engine of the upper stage is reignitable, which allows Ariane 6 to launch multiple missions on different orbits on a single flight. The Vinci engine will burn multiple times to reach the required orbits.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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