The Ariane 6 First Stages on Their Way to Kourou

Ariane 6 combined test module core stage. (Credit: ArianeGroup. Peppe Box, Julien Hazemann)
  • The Ariane 6 core stage and upper stage intended for the combined tests on the launch pad in French Guiana have left the ArianeGroup sites in Les Mureaux and Bremen and begun their journey to Europe’s Spaceport.
  • These stages will be integrated by ArianeGroup in the Launcher Assembly Building (BAL) to create the central core for the Ariane 6 combined tests model.
  • The combined tests are a crucial step in the development of Ariane 6: for the first time, the rocket and its new launch pad will be tested together and the Vulcain 2.1 motor will be hot-fired.

BREMEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — The Ariane 6 core stage and upper stage are now en route to Europe’s Spaceport. After final assembly at ArianeGroup’s Les Mureaux site and completion of all its functional acceptance tests, the core stage was taken to the French port of Le Havre. The ship then sailed to Bremen, Germany, to load the upper stage – assembled and inspected on-site by ArianeGroup – before setting sail for French Guiana. The two stages are scheduled to arrive at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in January.

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PTS Wins Major Contract Within the Further Development of Ariane 6

ArianeGroup ASTRIS Kick Stage. (Credit: ArianeGroup)

BERLIN, Germany (PTS PR) — Berlin-based aerospace company PTS has been awarded a large and prestigious development contract by ArianeGroup to supply one of the core elements of the further development of the Ariane space program: PTS is developing the electronics and operating system for the ASTRIS Kick Stage.

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ispace Europe, ArianeGroup and ESA to Assess Commercial Partnership for Lunar Transportation Services

LUXEMBOURG, December 10 (ispace PR) – ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European subsidiary of ispace, inc., and ArianeGroup have been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in a pilot phase aiming to establish commercial partnerships in Europe for lunar transportation and exploration. ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, November 24, with ispace EU and ArianeGroup. This marks the official start of the pilot phase.

During this phase, the ispace EU-ArianeGroup partnership will undertake business, technical and socio-economic evaluations of their lunar transportation service, which will ultimately be presented to an ESA evaluation panel; the companies are seeking a decision from ESA by Summer 2022. If endorsed by the Panel and further confirmed by ESA Member States, ispace EU and ArianeGroup could become a vetted candidate to transport ESA payloads to the Moon.

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Airbus will Build ESA’s Ariel Exoplanet Hunting Satellite

Artist impression of ESA’s Ariel exoplanet satellite. (Credit: Airbus)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA and Airbus have signed a contract to move forward with the design and construction of the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, Ariel, planned for launch in 2029.

Ariel is the third in a trio of dedicated exoplanet missions conceived by ESA focusing on various aspects of this rapidly evolving subject area. It will follow Cheops, which launched in 2019, and Plato, scheduled for launch in 2026.

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Italy and France Agree to Deepen Cooperation on Launch Vehicles & Other Areas

ROME November 26, 2021 (Italian Space Agency PR) — The Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, signed the “Treaty for Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation” at the Quirinale, in the presence of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and of the Italian and French delegations.

The agreement known as the Quirinal Treaty also gives specific attention to space cooperation between Italy and France, as stated in article 7. [see below]

On the sidelines of the bilateral agreement, an Italian-French Agreement on launchers was also signed. Vittorio Colao, Minister for Technology Innovation and Digital Transition, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, agreed on the conclusions of the high level group on space matters they initiated last September.

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Arianespace to launch Australian satellite Optus-11 with Ariane 6

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

– Arianespace signed a contract with Australian operator SingTel Optus to orbit the Optus-11 satellite using the Ariane 6 heavy launch vehicle.
– Optus-11 will be the seventh SingTel Optus satellite launched by Arianespace.

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and Australian operator SingTel Optus signed the launch contract for the Optus-11 communications satellite. The launch, scheduled for the second half of 2023, will use the Ariane 64 version of the Ariane 6 launcher, with four solid boosters.

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Last Call: Fly Your Payload on First Ariane 6 Launch

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA offers an opportunity for payloads and experiments to ride on board the first flight of Ariane 6 planned in 2022. Notice of interest should reach ESA by 15 November.

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Ariane 6 Launch Complex Inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport

A time lapse was filmed under the stars on the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The new launch complex built for Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket is inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

With this, ESA celebrates another important milestone in the Ariane 6 roadmap as it forges ahead with combined tests between launch vehicle and launch base and preparations towards the first launch campaign.

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ESA Council Agrees Resolution on Ariane 6 and Vega-C Exploitation and Future Space Transportation

Artist’s view of the European launcher family. Shown from left to right: Ariane 5, Vega, the two-booster Ariane 6 (A62), Vega-C, the four-booster Ariane 6 (A64). (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Member States have agreed upon the boundary conditions for Europe’s upcoming exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega-C and request ESA to propose a roadmap for new and innovative space transportation solutions for the next decade and a framework for associated short cycle demonstrations.

The Resolution agreed upon by ESA Member States mid-August sets the conditions for the first three years of stabilised exploitation of Europe’s new launch vehicles, Ariane 6 and Vega-C at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. 

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ArianeGroup wins ESA’s “ASTRIS” Competition for More Versatile Ariane 6

Astris kick stage for Ariane 6. (Credit: ArianeGroup)
  • In the framework of the Ariane 6 Competitiveness Improvement Programme, the European Space Agency has appointed ArianeGroup as prime contractor for the development of a complementary stage for Ariane 6, the “ASTRIS” kickstage.
  • ArianeGroup development activities are worth €90 million [US $106.2 million]
  • Developed by ArianeGroup in Germany, ASTRIS is a true additional stage, called a “kick-stage”, that will further increase the versatility of Ariane 6 and enhance performance for new types of mission
  • Powered by the BERTA engine with storable propellants, ASTRIS will increase the capability to inject satellites directly into geostationary orbit (GEO), allow electrically-powered satellites to reach their orbits in a few hours instead of in a few months, and facilitate missions to the Moon and deep space
  • The first Ariane 6 mission equipped with the ASTRIS kick-stage is scheduled for 2024

BREMEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA), as part of its Ariane 6 Competitiveness Improvement Program, has chosen ArianeGroup to develop and build a complementary stage (kick-stage) for Ariane 6, called ASTRIS, which will enable Arianespace, operator of the new European launcher to place with even greater efficiency a larger number of payloads in different orbits, or to inject satellites into geostationary orbit (GEO).

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Ariane Ultimate Project Looks Toward Launchers of 2040

Ariane Ultimate (Credit: CNES)

PARIS (CNES PR) — What will the launcher look like the day after tomorrow? It is far too early to tell, but CNES is already working to imagine the disruptive technologies that will make it fly.

In the field of launchers, you have to know how to look far ahead. While the qualification of Ariane 6 has entered its final phases, its successor Ariane Next is envisaged for the 2030s, and reflections for the post-2040 are well underway with the Ariane Ultimate project . At this stage, it is still only a concept, that is to say a pool of new technologies which are in an embryonic state but which we want to make mature by this time, in order to develop a launcher that must be carbon neutral, fully reusable and at almost zero marginal launch cost. It is also a question of projecting on the new uses of space in the coming decades as we can imagine them on this horizon: for example the need for high speeds to reach the low orbits which could serve as hubs of exchange towards the Moon or towards Mars. 

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New PHOEBUS Contract Paves Way for Development of Future Lightweight Composite Rocket Stages

MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup signed contracts with ESA on 14 May 2019 to develop Phoebus, a prototype of a highly-optimised black upper stage. (Credit: ArianeGroup)
  • ArianeGroup signs a new contract with ESA as lead contractor for the PHOEBUS project. This European Space Agency program aims to further the development of composite technologies, notably for the future upper stage of Ariane 6
  • The future “black” carbon composite upper stage, called ICARUS (Innovative Carbon ARiane Upper Stage), will be lighter than the current metal upper stage and will further enhance the versatility and competitiveness of Ariane 6 in the next few years
  • This contract, worth 14,6 M€, follows on from the first contracts signed in May 2019 and will confirm the technological maturity of the PHOEBUS demonstrator

MOULINEAUX, France (ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and ArianeGroup, lead contractor and design authority for Ariane 6, have signed a new technological development contract in the field of carbon composites. The PHOEBUS (Prototype of a Highly OptimizEd Black UpperStage) program will increase the maturity of the technologies needed to lower both the manufacturing cost and the weight of the Ariane 6 upper stage. The goal is thus to improve its performance (in particular, an increased payload capacity of about two metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit), and to validate a new stage architecture.

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New ESA Contracts to Advance Prometheus and Phoebus Projects

Prometheus rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup Holding)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is forging ahead with advanced developments in two flagship space transportation demonstration projects, Prometheus and Phoebus. This will benefit Europe’s new Ariane 6 launcher in the near-term, and prepare for a new generation of European launch vehicles in the next decade.

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Arianespace Offers a Ticket into Space to a Startup or Lab

  • Arianespace is launching a contest for satellite projects by space technology startups, labs or universities, in conjunction with the Viva Technology 2021 (VivaTech) innovation show.
  • The winner will get a free launch of their satellite on an Arianespace rideshare mission.
  • The main selection criterion will be the satellite’s mission, which should improve life on Earth or advance human knowledge.

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace, the European launch services company, is Arianespace, the European launch services company, is organizing a contest in conjunction with the VivaTech international innovation show. First prize will be a spot on a rideshare mission operated by Arianespace, to orbit the winning cubesat-sized satellite.

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EUMETSAT, Arianespace Confirm Launch of Two Meteosat Third Generation Satellites with Ariane 6

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • Arianespace and EUMETSAT signed an update of their Launch Services Agreement for two Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites.
  • The sounder satellite MTG-S1 and the imager satellite MTG-I2 will be launched with Ariane 6, the next generation of Ariane family of launchers.
  • Arianespace will also place into orbit the MTG-I1 satellite with an Ariane 5 launcher by the end of 2022. The launch orderbook includes two more state-of-the-art meteorological polar satellites as well as one additional launch, still in option.

EVRY-COURCOURONNES, France, March 23, 2021 (Arianespace PR) — Today, at the occasion of the World Meteorological Day, EUMETSAT and Arianespace signed an update of their Launch Services Agreement for two Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites. Through this updated agreement, Arianespace is confirmed by EUMETSAT to launch the sounder satellite MTG-S1 and the imager satellite MTG-I2 with Ariane 6, the next generation of Ariane family of launchers.

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