Ariane 6 Series Production Begins with First Batch of 14 Launchers

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

EVRY-COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — 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.

Following the initial institutional and commercial launch orders for Ariane 6 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 ground qualification tests on the launch pad in French Guiana, as well as the Ariane 62’s first flight vehicle, 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 am particularly 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 trends in 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.
About ArianeGroup

ArianeGroup develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs approximately 9,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its 2018 revenues amounted to 3.6 billion euros.
About Arianespace

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services and solutions for all types of satellites (institutional and commercial) into all orbits. It has orbited more than 600 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur (Central Asia). Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility in Kourou at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

  • Jeff Smith

    It’ll be impressive if they can get that first launch off next year. I hope they meet all their technical and business goals.

  • 76 er

    I love reading CEO’s annual report summaries. Usually the more flowery and colorful their descriptions of the company’s performance the worse the annual results. Mr Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup here has used the phrase “great adventure”. By saying that he certainly tried to put some positive spin on his firm’s business prospects. “Adapt or die” would be more apropos since they can no longer charge hundreds of millions to loft satellites into orbit as they used to do. They have literally been forced to lower their prices and build a more efficient rocket. “Great adventure” my foot!