Ariane 6 liftoff: What is Europe's new rocket carrying into space?

Ariane 6 is ready to take off from French Guiana on Tuesday evening.
It is not fired empty during this first flight.
We explain to you what you carry on board.

After months of waiting with the retirement of Ariane 5, Europe is finally taking off again. Finally. Ariane 6 is set to lift off for the first time from the launch pad on Tuesday, July 9, from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, where no rocket has taken off for a year. The launch, four years late, should mark Europe’s return to space after a series of disappointments. Twelve countries have been involved in building this heavy launcher designed to take on Elon Musk’s space company.

On its maiden flight, Ariane 6 will carry seventeen “passengers”. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Ariane Group have selected four scientific experiments ranging from a 150-gram Greek radio beacon to a 12-kilo French payload aimed at testing a theory about electromagnetic radiation. The rocket will also carry seven small satellites, weighing between 1.3 and 26 kilograms, developed by Portuguese, Spanish or German universities or Slovak or French start-ups.

Two capsules for re-entry into the atmosphere

Two re-entry capsules, which should be the cargo ship the Europeans want to resupply space stations, are also part of the journey. Unlike SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, its American counterpart, the European heavy-lift launcher is not reusable. More versatile, Ariane 6 will be able to put satellites into geostationary orbit, at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers, like Ariane 5, as well as put constellations into orbit a few hundred kilometers above Earth. After ground tests, this inaugural flight should prove that.

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If successful, the first commercial flight should take place before the end of the year, six in 2025 and eight the following year. Twenty-eight missions, in total, already appear in his flight log.”We have a full order book. We will now have to do whatever it takes to make sure that the launches go well and quickly. And that we are at the planned and announced rate of twelve launches a year to make up for this delay and stay in the race.“It is a very important thing,” confirms Marie-Ange Sangue, editor-in-chief of Espace et Exploration magazine, in the TF1 news video that can be seen at the top of this article.

Mathieu Delachillerie | TF1 Report Christine Chappell

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