Nov 30 2014

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ESA approves funding for Ariane 6 rocket

France wins debate over design & costs over Germany. Germany wanted an upgrade to the Ariane 5 instead of a new heavier-lift rocket. The Ariane 6 will come in two and four booster configurations. It should be ready for launch by 2022 at a cost of 8 billion Euros.

A medium to heavy launcher that traces its roots to 1985, the Ariane 5 has 62 successful operations to its name and accounts for more than half of the world’s commercial launch market.

According to ESA, it has generated “direct economic benefits” in Europe of 50 billion euros ($125 billion).

But the workhorse of space also carries hefty costs — and now finds itself flanked by nimble US commercial competitors such as SpaceX.

With smaller launchers, these rivals are well placed to exploit a fast-growing market for lighter, electric-propulsion telecoms satellites.

By 2022, the Falcon Heavy should be operational, and the Ariane 6 will be behind the curve like the Ariane 5 is now.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/30/esa-approves-funding-for-ariane-6-rocket/

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