back to article Europe's Ariane 6 rocket rated 'ready to rumble' after passing hot fire test

The Ariane 6 launcher has successfully conducted a hot fire test –, an important achievement for the Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA). "ESA's new Ariane 6 rocket passed a major full-scale rehearsal today [November 23] in preparation for its first flight, when teams on the ground went through a complete launch …

  1. FrankAlphaXII

    Its in everyone's interests that there's competition, the more the better really.

    Ariane was the just about the only thing that kept ULA and it's predecessors "honest" (in the typical twisted defense contractor manner of speaking "honest") for a long time before anyone thought SpaceX was a serious competitor.

    And if I'm not mistaken the JWST was launched on an Ariane 5, so it's not like there's no US interest in the ESA's programs just regardless.

    1. Anonymous John

      JWST was an international project and European scientists got a chunk of observing time in exchange for the launch.

  2. Anonymous John

    Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

    Competitive? Not when you consider the cost and flight rate.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

      It's back-to-front, because the Ariana 5 has been going for so long. Ariane 5 was for a while to only alternative for commecial satellite launches and was itself the benchmark for SpaceX.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

        Imagine having a decades long head start and finding yourself decades behind.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

          Are we talking about hyperloop ?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

            Are we talking about hyperloop ?

            Who is ahead in the hyperloop race?

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

              "Who is ahead in the hyperloop race?"

              If Hyperloop TT is still a going concern, they are the last ones standing.

        2. Zack Mollusc

          Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

          Are we talking about british industry?

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Capacity that made it competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9.

      https://futurism.com/the-byte/spacex-tesla-government-money-npr

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As on its first flight lauch Ariane 5 sank will Ariane 6 cease?

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      tres bon

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Coat

      Ariane 7 will be all set, though!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        And Ariane 8 will be toast? Or maybe eaten for breakfast by SpaceX?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Was my "pun" really that bad or did the downvoters not know how to pronounce "8" in French? :-)

          Maybe if we get Huit more downvotes, they'll be Dix?

          1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

            You got nerfed.

  4. steamnut

    Glimmer of hope.

    This extended test result is good news, particularly for the bean counters which must be dreading the first real flight.

    We all remember the earlier Ariane "mishaps" so they are not our of the woods yet for sure.

    As for costs then, surely, the low percentage of reusable components in Arianne 6 means that Space-X is still more competitive. And, as Arianne 6 is a long way from getting any sort of track record, the insurance will be very high against Space-X too.

    I guess we should still wish them well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glimmer of hope.

      Ariane is about independent capability, sometimes it costs more to retain the ability to do something without being at the whim of a billionaire or the country they operate from.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: reason to exist

        Independent access was somewhere between a reason and an excuse. Another incentive was as a jobs program. Falcon 9 first launch was 2010. It was optimized for cost and a threat to Ariane's commercial launch business. Europe was not prepared to 100% fund independent access to space and wanted at least 50% from commercial launches.

        Ariane 6 got funding in 2016 because the proposed costing matched Falcon 9 before re-use (later that year) while providing independent access to space and securing existing jobs. Falcon 9 re-use broke the funding model - as did escalating Ariane 6 costs. Earning another bad timing award, Europe switched funding methods by offering launch contracts to commercial companies while Amazon bought a batch of Kuiper launches on Ariane 6.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Glimmer of hope.

      >We all remember the earlier Ariane "mishaps" so they are not our of the woods yet for sure.

      Ariane 5 has a pretty good record. The first one blew, the first one of the improved version 10 years later fell into a swamp - but the others stayed up !

      they had a couple of 2nd stage partial failures but on a scale of massive rockets they have an enviable record.

      They were also much more precise than alternatives at the time, so the payloads didn't need as much manoeuvring fuel themselves - don't know how SpaceX's craft compare

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Non reusable

    This could be a perfect tax avoidance scheme that rocket.

    Quantum Flux Stabiliser, Graviton Archon Matrix, Cosmic Ray Diffuser to name a few.

    Of course these wouldn't exist, but how would the tax man find out if the rocket had already blown to pieces?

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Who decided to stop Ariane V before Ariane VI was ready? We cannot rely on non-european launchers to send our military satellites in space for instance.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      ESA in one of its regular, but fortunately not frequent, spats about politics and money.

  7. Bbuckley

    Ariane was astoundingly stupid by scrapping Ariane 5 before a single Ariane 6 launch. Perhaps because they are French? Peut-être Hubris, mon ami?

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      Well

      The EU is a bunch of weaklings who need Uncle Sam to protect them from ANY REAL threat. Like the Russkies or the Turks.

      They will degrade defense capabilities to zero* while talking childish-pacifist nonsense. When the threat pops up, they cannot even organize a Common European Defence Exercise. Easy to play Divide Et Impera with said weaklings.

      So the lack of a satellite launcher is much less of an issue than LACK OF COJONES.

      *Look up SENIOR GUARDIAN, Heeresfunkgeräte, EADS Barracuda, EuroHAWK, "Kampfdrohnen völkerrechtlich nicht verboten"

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: Well

        Yeh big balls america... no balls to allow Ukraine into Nato, no balls in 1939, no balls in 1914...

      2. Casca Silver badge

        Re: Well

        Wow, that moronic to say the least...

    2. Zolko Silver badge

      Ariane is not French anymore

      You're right that Ariane began as a French endeavor, but is a joint European organisation since 2015, the same date that Ariane 6 was selected. So, unfortunately, it's the exact opposite of your petty remark:

      Perhaps because they are French ?

      no, because they're NOT french anymore. As long as space-research was lead by France, things worked quite well, and it's only since "Europe" – whatever that is – took over that it goes down the sewer. Tells more about you than the French actually

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Ariane is not French anymore

        Ariane was developed after the Europa launcher, which in turn was based on a British first stage. ELDO was the organisation that merged into ESA and continued the devlopment of Ariane.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Ariane was astoundingly stupid by scrapping Ariane 5 before a single Ariane 6 launch. "

      Not really. Delays are always an issue in aerospace, but if there were still A-5's on the schedule when A-6 was ready to go, that might have been a big financial hit if people wanted to switch. Launches are also scheduled years in advance (at least loosely) which make the A-6 delays painful.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

    They have an army of bureaucrats and engineers planning (very poorly) and fighting over (stupidly) every tiny little aspect vs. the SpaceX model of using a very lean organization with a "let's try our best with what we've got right now and blow up prototypes as learning experiences" ethos.

    The irony is that the SpaceX model is faster, better, and massively cheaper.

    NASA spent over $10 billion on a vehicle to replace the space shuttle (which itself was a monstrously expensive boondoggle that had a ~2% fatality rate), and for that much money they didn't even have a design.

    SpaceX had a designed, tested, and validated solution for around $250M. Did it have every conceivable wish-list feature? No. But it works, and SpaceX has since iterated it into a re-usable platform with continuous improvements in capacity.

    NASA and ESA aren't space programs, they're white-collar government welfare scams that occasionally launch hideously overpriced rockets with sketchy safety records. Companies like SpaceX are going to leave them in the dust, as they should. Unfortunately (and I am genuinely sad about this, not rubbing it in), the EU hatred for successful entrepreneurship burns with the heat of a thousand exploding rockets, and so the major EU powers will not be able to replicate SpaceX's success in the foreseeable future.

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

      The Ariane launchers were quite succesful and reliable until Musk entered the business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        So how exactly does that work?

        SpaceX launches some rockets and suddenly ESA forgets how to? Or do you believe that Elon Musk has voodoo dolls of Ariane rockets in his office that he sticks pins in while laughing maniacally? Is it just penis envy? What exactly are you trying to say here?

      2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        So Ariane rockets suddenly started failing and blowup after Musk ?

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

      How much does SpaceX actually cost per launch ?

      How many grants have they received from the tax payer ?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        What are you doing on this site if you don't know how to answer a question that takes a few minutes with a search engine?

        SpaceX's Falcon rocket development, testing, and certification (around $200M) was funded by private equity and venture capital, with Elon Musk personally paying for 50% of this ($100M) out of his own pocket.

        Once Falcon was proven, SpaceX started getting paid by the government to launch payloads into orbit, and to deliver people and cargo to and from the ISS.

        With an established track record, SpaceX has been awarded a $2.9 billion contract from NASA for a system that puts people and cargo on the moon. This contract is payable at certain milestones based on performance.

        Cost per launch depends on a wide variety of factors, including orbital destination, payload weight, whether multiple payloads can share a single launch, etc.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

          Can you list all the government grants musk and his companies have received ?

          Did you know that Musk is in the top 10 list of government welfare in the USA ?

        2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

          AC: What are you doing on this site if you don't know how to answer a question that takes a few minutes with a search engine?

          cow: Do you ?

          https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story.html

          Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

      3. Dostoevsky

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        Less than ULA. That's all you need to know.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

          dos: Less than ULA. That's all you need to know.

          cow: So you demand others to obey your answers without actually providing evidence ?

      4. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        "How much does SpaceX actually cost per launch ?"

        Surprisingly, SpaceX charges more per astronaut to send people to ISS than the Russians were charging per seat.

    3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

      Your making a lot of grand claims about SpaceX, can you actually prove any of them ?

      Were they efficient when they blew up Starships first pad ?

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

        *sigh* Ever heard of iterative testing?I'm not a Musk fanboi by any means but seriously, you really need to understand that the rocketry business is... different.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

          ano; *sigh* Ever heard of iterative testing?

          I'm not a Musk fanboi by any means but seriously, you really need to understand that the rocketry business is... different.

          cow: So you mention iterative which has a standard meaning everywhere and then say its different? How does that work ?

    4. cray74

      Re: ESA suffers from the same disease as NASA

      There's that weird idea that SpaceX is competing with NASA again. NASA doesn't build or operate rockets, it runs air and space research programs. SpaceX doesn't have a space exploration program, it builds rockets and launches customers' payloads.

      SpaceX had a designed, tested, and validated solution for around $250M.

      SpaceX's initial Falcon 9 development costs of $400 million included about $250 million from NASA. Later reusability refinements on the Falcon 9 and development of SpaceX's Dragon capsule depended heavily on NASA's multi-billion dollar commercial launch services contracts and commercial crew delivery contracts. SpaceX's DragonEye docking system for the capsules was tested on shuttle flights (themselves run by a private company, the United Space Alliance) to the International Space Station (which was largely built by western private sector entities, like Boeing).

      SpaceX is again getting billions of dollars from NASA to develop the Starship. As of last count, two loads of funding under NASA's Human Launch Services contracts have given SpaceX $4.04 billion to get Starship airborne and, eventually, deliver people to the moon.

      SpaceX, like Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Arianespace, and many other private entities, are contractors for NASA. NASA gets huge sums of funding from Congress to study space and then finds contractors to build and fly its rockets because the US public thinks it is uncool for government agencies to run, say, rocket factories. NASA's launch service contractors, meanwhile...

      Companies like SpaceX are going to leave them in the dust, as they should.

      ...never created or ran space exploration programs. SpaceX hasn't put a penny of its own money into developing a deep space probe, running teams of space researchers and astronomers, or operating aerodynamics research labs like NASA has. SpaceX is a delivery service that builds its own delivery vehicles, with a developing side hustle in communications.

      SpaceX has been groundbreaking in its advancement of launch services and cost reductions, which have pretty much knocked Boeing and Lockheed-Martin (operating as the United Launch Alliance) out of the market. Under Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX has done some great work. And NASA is loving that SpaceX work: SpaceX lets NASA run redundant, competing lines of rocket and lander development to make sure Artemis gets to the moon whether the SLS tanks or Starship keeps blowing up.

      It's just a misunderstanding to think that SpaceX is competing with NASA. They're doing completely different things.

  9. Justthefacts Silver badge

    Not clear

    I don’t believe this test was fully successful, if you look carefully. During the final minute of the burn, the flame went from the normal yellow with shock cone, to more transparent without shock cone. Also the shaking decreases markedly, suggesting less thrust was being developed. I’m not the only person to have noticed that.

    https://spacenews.com/ariane-6-completes-long-duration-static-fire-test/

    “although the performance of the engine appeared to change in the final minute of the burn.”

    “The test firing was scheduled to last 470 seconds…… describing it as a “seven-minute full firing” of the engine, rather than the nearly eight minutes advertised beforehand.”

    1. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: Not clear

      “The engine was intended to fire for 470 seconds. However, the engine shut down after 426 seconds, which officials attributed to a faulty sensor and “very conservative” test thresholds intended to protect the launch pad that would not have been used on an actual launch.”

      But they still reckon to stick to a June/July 2024 launch date, with a real payload. And no full-length full test between now and then. That’s “brave”.

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