Europe’s New Rocket to Make Maiden Flight

Europe’s New Rocket to Make Maiden Flight

ESA-Manuel Pedoussaut


After nearly ten years of development, Europe’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket, Ariane 6, will make its maiden flight on Tuesday evening.

The 56-metre-tall vehicle is set to take off from the European space centre in Kourou, French Guiana.

A successful flight will mark the end of a crisis in the rocket sector for the European Space Agency (ESA), which has severely limited its ability to get satellites into orbit.

The launch window opens at 20:00 CEST and will continue until midnight.

The previous Ariane 5 rocket was launched last summer.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher, originally from Tyrol, views Ariane 6 as ushering in a new era of autonomous and versatile space travel.

Thirteen European countries including Austria have contributed to the rocket’s construction, with Austrian companies playing a significant role. Beyond Gravity Austria supplied high-temperature thermal insulation while high-tech company TTTech provided parts of the data network.

Each Ariane 6 launch will generate approximately €500,000 for Austrian companies, according to the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

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