The European super rocket Ariane 6 will be launched in 2023 after two years of delay

The European super rocket Ariane 6 will be launched in 2023 after two years of delay

The European Space Agency (ESA) hopes to launch its next-generation rocket Ariane 6 before the end of the year, although he has not specified a specific date. The space vehicle, which accumulates two years of delays, successfully passed hot launch tests on Friday that lead to optimism. The rocket is essential to facilitate Europe’s access to space without the need to resort to third parties.

“It is our top priority. We have to fly again as soon as possible, but in the right conditions,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, at a press conference this morning. “With Ariane 6 we must restore flight capability for Europe,” he said.

Friday’s tests, conducted under near-vacuum conditions at a facility in Germany, lasted up to 975 seconds and were a “huge relief” after an earlier test was interrupted, ESA director of space transportation Daniel Neuenschwander acknowledged. .

Hot firing testing is one of the three main hurdles before launch, along with launcher combo testing in French Guiana and hardware delivery. The rocket is being developed by the ArianeGroup, co-owned by Airbus and Safran.

ESA will not be able to give a more exact timetable for the debut until June. The delayed launch of Ariane 6 is a crucial step as Europe faces a gap in its access to space after the use of Russian Soyuz rockets was interrupted by the war in Ukraine and Italy’s Vega C was grounded after a failed to launch last month. “Let’s call it by its name: a crisis with launchers in Europe,” said ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

An investigation commission will issue its conclusions in the second half of February. Neuenschwander has indicated that the Vega C issue had been centered on the new second stage, meaning that the older version of Vega could resume flights sooner than the affected Vega C model.

Journey to the moons of Jupiter

In addition, ESA has two main missions scheduled for 2023. The first, the Jupiter Ice Moons Explorer (Juice), is scheduled to launch in April from Kourou in French Guiana. The mission aims to find out if the oceans of Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, Jupiter’s icy moons, might have once been suitable habitats for life. Juice will be launched by an Ariane 5.

The second big mission is Euclid, which is scheduled to launch next summer. Their goal is to improve understanding of dark matter and energy by precisely measuring the acceleration of the universe. In addition, the new generation of ESA astronauts will begin their training this year.


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