Arianespace has signed an order with ArianeGroup to begin manufacturing the first series-production batch of 14 Ariane 6 launchers across the European space industry.
Production of this initial batch of Ariane 6 launchers, which are to fly during the 2021-2023 timeframe, will be in parallel with the final batch of 8 Ariane 5 launchers.
These first series-production Ariane6 launchers will roll out of the ArianeGroup plants from early 2021.
Ariane 6 is carried out within a European Space Agency (ESA) program. The Ariane 6 maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.
Following the initial institutional and commercial launch orders for Ariane6 obtained by Arianespace since the autumn of 2017, and the resolution of the ESA Council on April 17, 2019,related to the rocket’s exploitation framework, ArianeGroup is starting to build the first series- production batch of 14 Ariane 6 launchers.
These 14 launchers, scheduled to fly between 2021 and 2023, will be built in ArianeGroup plants in France and Germany, as well as in those of its European industrial partners in the 13 countries taking part in the Ariane 6 program.
In parallel, ArianeGroup is proceeding with manufacturing of the model to be used for groundqualification tests on the launch pad in French Guiana, as well as the Ariane 62’s first flightvehicle, for which the inaugural launch is planned for 2020.
“Starting work on the first Ariane 6 series-production batch, less than four years after signing the development contract with ESA in August 2015, is a real success for the European space industry as a whole. We have made the necessary efforts to set up a new, more efficient and competitive European industrial organization in record time. We can now ensure the ramp-up of Ariane 6 production and prepare for its launch operations. Our customers are eagerly awaiting Ariane 6, and it will be delivered on time,” said André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup. “I amparticularly grateful to the teams at ArianeGroup, Arianespace, and our industrial partners throughout Europe who – each in their area of responsibility – work hand-in-hand to make the development, production, and marketing of the launcher possible. I also extend my warmest thanks to the European Space Agency, its member states and the national space agencies for their continued support in this great adventure, which is just beginning.”
Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace’s Executive Director for Missions, Operations and Procurement, added: “With the kick-off of these first 14 series-production Ariane 6 launchers, Arianespace is proud to continue to offer its customers the best launch services. Thanks to its 62 and 64 versions and the re-ignitable Vinci engine, Ariane 6 will be able to offer an increasingly varied range of missions to satisfy the expectations of its institutional customers and address new trendsin the commercial market.”
Ariane 6 – an ESA program – will be a versatile and competitive launcher particularly well- adapted to market developments. It is modular and will be available in two versions: Ariane 62 (with two P120 solid fuel boosters, common with Vega-C) and Ariane 64 (with four P120C solid fuel boosters), enabling it to carry out all missions, to all orbits, and to guarantee continued European access to space.
ArianeGroup is the prime contractor for the development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, and coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies, including 350 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in 13 European countries. Arianespace is responsible for the exploitation of Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launch systems, ensuring their commercialization and subsequent flight readiness and mission preparation for customers.