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Europe’s Ariane 6 set for July launch

Europe’s Ariane 6 set for July launch

Ariane 6

Europe’s newest rocket is set to launch on July 9, marking a significant milestone for the European Space Agency (ESA). The Ariane 6 rocket, designed to be the future of Europe’s launch capabilities, has faced delays due to technical issues and disruptions from COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The rocket recently underwent a successful wet-dress rehearsal on the launch pad in French Guiana.

During the test, the 295-foot (90-meter) rocket stood on the pad without support from its gantry, was cooled to cryogenic temperatures, filled with fuel, and underwent systems checks before being completely drained in preparation for the actual launch. Of course, we’re still analyzing the data β€” it might take a few days still. But all we have up to now says that Ariane 6 is working perfectly,” said Lucia Linares, head of strategy and institutional launches at ESA.

The inaugural launch will send Ariane 6 to low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 320 miles (520 kilometers).

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Ariane 6 prepared for debut flight

It will carry nine cubesats and four non-orbital experiments, including a system for rapidly locating satellites and another test to see if a component can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere successfully.

Ariane 6 is expected to replace the Ariane 5, which concluded its service last year after 117 launches over 27 years. The new rocket is set to carry out around 9 to 12 launches per year by 2026, and more than 30 missions have already been booked by space agencies and private companies, including Amazon. The stakes for Europe’s launch capabilities are high,” said Carina Laveau, director of space transportation at CNES, France’s national space agency.

“It is an important moment in European space history and for the sovereignty of Europe.”

Despite the setbacks, Ariane 6 officials remain optimistic about the upcoming launch. “We are ready for launch,” Linares affirmed. The successful launch of Ariane 6 would mark a significant step forward for Europe’s space program, showcasing its ability to compete on the global stage and maintain its position at the forefront of space exploration and technology.

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