back to article Europe's Ariane 6 takes rocket science seriously by testing patience before engines

Arianespace's delayed Ariane 6 rocket is scheduled to take its next step toward launch today with a brief firing of the main stage Vulcain 2.1 engine. The latest try-out follows a lengthy and increasingly delayed test campaign leading to a hoped-for launch in 2024. During a briefing, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher …

  1. fg_swe Bronze badge

    Beancounters Concerned ?

    We can and should retain Ariane V launch capability. Damn the funny "plans".

    Ariane V was a great success after one loss due to lack of HIL test.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Beancounters Concerned ?

      And Ariane5 was designed for transporting humans to space, of which I'm not sure about Ariane6

  2. Justthefacts Silver badge


    Ceres-1 launched today, the nineth successive successful launch for Galactic Energy. Commercial launch of four more Tianqi satellites. Galactic Energy only *started* in 2018, first launch in 2020. By next year, they aim to be flying Pallas, their first reusable stack.

    Ariane 6 development started back in 2015, based only incrementally on Ariane 5, and still today already 3 years late, have failed to run their first hot-fire test of just 4 seconds in length.

    EU Commission need to get out the way with their power-struggle coup that destroyed ESA’s capability to operate effectively, and turned Ariane and Safran into a global embarrassment.

    ISRO can land on the moon for $75M, while EU can’t even catch a ride for $1.3bn for their antiquated rover.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile…..

      There's a lot to like about the Ariane series, including incremental developments. You're right to talk about politics within ESA screwing all kinds of projects. But this happens everywhere, especially in America. NASA's decision to put stuff out to tender was a fluke and almost didn't happen. Mind you, unfettered commercial exploitation of space is also something I'm not looking forward to.

      India has a much, much lower cost basis and, while the most recent launch was a resounding success, don't forget the failure that preceded. Nevertheless, alternative launch providers are welcome to stop the next cartel.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile…..

        There *was* a lot to like about Ariane 5. It was a success, and a great workhorse. The Question is how we should view Ariane 6.

        It’s incremental, in a universe where it is a minimum four years too late. Unless half a dozen other programs all fail simultaneously, it may be verging on commercially obsolescent when it does launch. It’s no good saying “yeah but the USA is just as bad”. USA governmentally-captured is no longer the only game in town. China has half a dozen contenders (most of which are vapourware, as usual), but Japan’s H3 is also a gnats nadger from coming on-stream, plus ISRO.

        Why is “India has a lower cost basis” a problem, or indeed relevant? Engineering is engineering, if ISRO have the skills to make it work, what should anyone care whether the cost of living is lower there? And salaries aren’t that much lower any more. A Staff Engineer in Bengaluru makes around £50k compared to maybe £65k in the U.K.. Hardly the predatory undercutting it’s being made out.

        I am very much looking forward to unfettered commercial exploitation of space. The concern was always that it wasn’t actually viable, that “asteroid mining”, “lunar He3 mining”, “pharmaceutical manifacture” were all just a fig leaf for the enthusiast, paid for by the gullible. And I still believe that, TBH. The killer app will be none of those. But governments seem to have dedicated six decades of funding to prove that they don’t know how to do it. There are very many “investment” schemes here on Earth that are fig leaves for enthusiasts paid for by the gullible - at least this one has unlimited potential social value.

        1. fg_swe Bronze badge


          It was Hitler and Stalin who made spaceflight happen.

          No need to like them for this, but these are the facts.

          Likewise, Admiral Rickover designed and developed the PWR reactor.

          Silicon Valley grew out of electronic warfare...

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Aschbacher admitted in a recent LinkedIn post"

    What a shame to have to use LinkedIn to publish anything about Ariane.

    Can't you use your own site for official communication ? Is that not worthy enough anymore to communicate with people who actually give a damn ?

    When are you going to start posting on sewer-data.whogivesashit.whocares ?

    How's about going back to official channels ?

    Does anyone know what official means anymore ?

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: "Aschbacher admitted in a recent LinkedIn post"

      I’ll just wait for the Sky at Night feature.


      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        Re: "Aschbacher admitted in a recent LinkedIn post"

        I remember about 15-20 years ago there was a drive, particularly in the sciences, to turn away from publishing boring articles in one's own official, personal (and under one's own control) space and post on/from the xitter instead to "drive engagement".

        It's going well.

  4. HamsterNet

    Madness still

    It was 10 years ago that SpaceX proved that the first stage reusability was not only possible but commercially viable.

    Yet the ESA paid billions to continue developing another single use rocket. The reasoning that if it was reusable they wouldn't make enough engines to make the engines cheap enough! No looking at if it was reuseable and thus cheaper the launch market can grow.

    Shotwell (and not Muskrat) has done amazing to get SpaceX to the global default launcher now. If its not on SpaceX then the customer is a government just trying to keep an outdated launch provider on life support.

    Government launchers need to step up and demand reusable rockets asap, or watch their launch capability fade into obscurity.

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