The Ariane 6 debut is slipping again as Europe hopes for a late 2022 launch

Artist's view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters on the ELA-4 launch pad together with its mobile gantry.

Enlarge / Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters on the ELA-4 launch pad together with its mobile gantry. (credit: ESA-D. Ducros)

Europe’s top space official said Monday that ensuring the first launch of the Ariane 6 rocket takes place in 2022 is a very high priority.

“This for me is a top, top priority,” said Josef Aschbacher, director general of the European Space Agency, at the Paris Air Forum. “Ariane 6 is our most important launcher to come. We have to put all the energy and all the emphasis into making the maiden flight as soon as possible.

Together with the leaders of the French space agency, CNES, and the Ariane 6’s prime contractor, Ariane Group, Aschbacher said he had put “a small group” together to make an independent assessment of the schedule for the final development phase of the Ariane 6 rocket. The goal of this task force will be to ensure that Europe does everything it needs to do launch on time.

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