ESA will launch its Ariane 6 cargo rocket at the end of 2023: “Europe’s free access to space is at stake”

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced when the first flight of its new Ariane 6 heavy-lift rocket will take place: in the fourth quarter of 2023. “what At stake here is free European access to space -Emphasised CEO Joseph Aschbacher in a press conference-. We are all fully committed to move forward with this platform at the earliest.”

Before the inaugural flight, Ashbacher estimates that three “major milestones” will have to be met, which are scheduled for the first quarter of next year. According to ESA, the successful completion of one of them is Upper Stage Hot Start Test, The test began earlier this month at the German space agency DLR’s Engine and Stage Test Center in Lampoldshausen.

Andre Hubert Russell, CEO of ArianeGroup, which developed the Ariane 6, explains that The first 45-second power-up “went great”, In addition, it details how the hot start test in the upper stage is allowing useful technical data to be collected in preparation for launch.

Another important milestone will be the test central stage hot start Ariane 6, with its Vulcan 2.1 engine, at the ESA launch pad in Kuru, French Guiana. According to the agency, this will make it possible to find out whether the rocket and launch pad can work as an integrated system.

The application period ends on September 9.

Finally, Aschbacher informs that it has to be a rating review launch system. With this latest milestone, ESA will ensure that the first flight can take place at the end of 2023 or will be delayed.

“There are things that require longer than we expected,” Hubert said of the trial that began this October. Overall, ArianeGroup about 4,000 million euros To develop and test the project by ESA.

Once Ariane 6 is ready, ESA is already operational 26 flights With heavy-load launch system.

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