Ariane 6 on the way
Sunday, 17 January 2010

The European Space Agency (ESA) is beginning work on its next generation rocket-launcher, Ariane 6. However, this is a long term scheme.

While spending on the giant Ariane 6 will start this year the project has a completion date of around 2025.

An initial contract worth $217m has been signed with French aerospace giant Astrium, for the initial development phase of Ariane 6.

Next year (2011) there’s a European meeting of space ministers scheduled where the precise timetable and role of the “Next Generation Launcher” as it is officially known.

The European launch community says the changing market calls for a new vehicle sized more closely to fit government requirements and designed so that commercial launch needs are not central to its sustainability.

Development costs are huge (at between €3.5bn-€8bn) and subject to the decision made next year will be capable to lifting up to 12 tonnes of payload cargo into orbit. That cargo could include humans, although much of the focus will continue to be the launching of commercial satellites into space.

(Source: Rapid TV News)