European Commission Commits to Minimum Ariane 6, Vega C Orders

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: ESA–David Ducros,)

There’s was some good news this week for Airbus Safran Launchers and Arianespace, which were looking for a guaranteed number of orders for their new boosters.

The European Commission will commit to buying at least five Ariane 6 and two Vega C launches per year when both rockets are in operation, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European Commission’s lead space commissioner, said Wednesday….

“We will aggregate our institutional launches to support those two launchers,” she said…

Bienkowska also said Europe’s confidence in the suitability of Ariane 6 and Vega C, both of which are single-use rockets, remains unshaken by the early success of SpaceX and Blue Origin in demonstrating their reusable rockets.

“We observe very closely the ongoing revolution in the launcher market, especially here in the United States, around the principle of reusability,” she said. “Europe’s answer is the development of the next-generation of cost effective, reliable and competitive European launchers: Ariane 6 and Vega C.”

The launch orders will be aggregated from the European Commission, ESA, Eumetsat and various national space agencies.

Ariane 6, which is the successor to Ariane 5, is expected to begin flight tests in 2020. The booster is designed to lift payloads weighing up to 10.5 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit.

The Vega C will be an upgraded version of the Vega booster, which can place payloads weighing up to 2.5 tonnes into orbit. The Vega C’s capacity will be increased by at least 300 kg. The booster will use a first stage engine being developed for Ariane 6.

Read the full story.

  • therealdmt

    I thought Skylon was gonna be regularly winging tons of stuff up there for them for like free by then?

  • JamesG

    yeah… I think they are still doing the paperwork waiting to get permission from Her Majesty’s bureaucracy.

  • Aerospike


    you finally changed your Ariane 6 picture to one that shows the current configuration 😉

  • duheagle

    Wouldn’t much matter if Skylon could do that. As of the Brexit vote, Skylon is no longer a European launcher. This is a story about Europeans making a decision in Europe about European support for a European launcher. No Brits allowed.

  • Aerospike

    Well they are certainly allowed (and welcomed by most other Europeans), but since they decided they would be better off alone…

  • duheagle

    I was being a bit arch, there. Britain is still part of ESA as ESA is not a creature of the EU.