Ariane 6

Ariane 6 is a European expendable launch system currently under development since the early 2010s by ArianeGroup on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). It is intended to replace the Ariane 5, as part of the Ariane launch vehicle family. The stated motivation for Ariane 6 (as of 2015) was to halve the cost compared to Ariane 5, and increase the capacity for the number of launches per year (from six or seven to up to eleven).[6]

Ariane 6
Illustration of the two Ariane 6 variants planned, A62 (left) and A64 (right)
FunctionMedium-heavy launch vehicle
Country of originEuropean Space Agency
Project cost€3.6 billion[1]
Cost per launch€75 million (Ariane 62)
€115 million (Ariane 64)[2][3]
Height63 m (207 ft)
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)
Mass530,000–860,000 kg (1,170,000–1,900,000 lb)
Payload to LEO
MassA64: 21,650 kg (47,730 lb)
A62: 10,350 kg (22,820 lb)[4]
Payload to GTO
Orbital inclination
MassA64: 11,500 kg (25,400 lb)
A62: 4,500 kg (9,900 lb)[4]
Payload to GEO
Orbital inclination
MassA64: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb)[4]
Payload to SSO
Orbital inclination97.4°
MassA64: 15,500 kg (34,200 lb)
A62: 7,200 kg (15,900 lb)[4]
Payload to LTO
MassA64: 8,600 kg (19,000 lb)
A62: 3,500 kg (7,700 lb)[4]
Associated rockets
ComparableVulcan Centaur, H3, Titan IV, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy (reusable)
Launch history
StatusIn Development
Launch sitesCentre Spatial Guyanais
First flightQ4 2023 (planned)[5]
Boosters – Equipped Solid Rocket
No. boosters2 or 4
Diameter3 m (9.8 ft)
Propellant mass142,000 kg (313,000 lb)
Powered byP120
Maximum thrust4,650 kN (1,050,000 lbf) each
Core stage – Lower Liquid Propulsion Module
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)
Propellant mass140,000 kg (310,000 lb)
Powered byVulcain 2.1
Maximum thrust1,370 kN (310,000 lbf)
PropellantLH2 / LOX
Upper stage – Upper Liquid Propulsion Module
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)
Propellant mass31,000 kg (68,000 lb)
Powered byVinci
Maximum thrust180 kN (40,000 lbf)
PropellantLH2 / LOX

Ariane 6 is designed with two core stages both powered by liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen (hydrolox) engines. The first stage has an improved version of the Vulcain engine already used on the Ariane 5, whilst the second stage has a newly designed Vinci engine. Most of the initial lift-off thrust is provided by solid rocket boosters attached to the first stage: either two or four P120s (Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 variants respectively), which are larger versions of the P80s used on the Vega rocket.

Selection of the design concept was made by ESA in December 2014,[7] favouring it over an alternative all-solid-fuel rocket option.[8] Further high-level design was completed in 2015 and the vehicle entered the detailed design phase in 2016. In 2017, the European Space Agency (ESA) set 16 July 2020 as the deadline for the first flight,[9] and in May 2019 Arianespace placed the first production order. Following several delays, as of October 2022 Arianespace expects the first launch to occur in the fourth quarter of 2023.[5]

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Ariane 6, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.