‘A new Ariane6, cheaper than the current Ariane5, more competitive, but using tried and tested technology’. This is the project submitted in Luxemburg to the European ministers with responsibility for spatial planning, with around 4 billion euros needed for the project.
The new format Ariane6, submitted by ESA (European Space Agency) with the full support of the European space industry, seems to be unanimously accepted: risk is minimal as there are no breaking-news technological changes, but it promises increased competitiveness.
On Tuesday, a budget of 3.8 billion euros was requested of spatial planning ministers from 20 ESA countries as well as Canada, to develop the Ariane6 project, including the development of Vega, a small European launcher.
The current European Ariane5 rocket, with its 62 successful launches, currently boasts a 50% share of the satellite launching market, but is facing increased competition from other launch vehicles, especially America’s SpaceX’s Falcon.
The European space industry must also prepare itself for new developments in the market, such as the increasing importance of satellites with electric propulsion, which are lighter but could end up being larger.
2 versions of Ariane6 are planned – one with 2 rocket boosters, and a heavier one with 4 which can carry 2 satellites, making Ariane6 flexible and perfectly adapted to the needs of both traditional institutions (research satellites, space probes), and commercial flights (telecom satellites, television, etc.), which make up two thirds of all launches.