Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Europe to build new-generation Ariane 6 rocket
by Staff Writers
Luxembourg (AFP) Dec 02, 2014

European nations announced Tuesday they would build a new-generation rocket in a multi-billion-euro (dollar) programme to maintain their grip on the world market for satellite launches.

European Space Agency (ESA) ministers "took a major decision -- to develop a new launcher, the Ariane 6, which will replace the Ariane 5, with a maiden flight scheduled for 2020," French Research Minister Genevieve Fioraso said in a statement describing the deal as "historic."

Tuesday's agreement came after months of behind-the-scenes haggling to ease a rift between France and Germany over Ariane 5's successor.

"This is a very important day for the space agency after sometimes very tough but very fair and open discussions," said Luxembourg Economy and Trade Minister Etienne Schneider.

"It's a success -- I even dare to call it a big success," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's director-general, explaining that nations had pledged 5.924 billion euros ($7.4 billion) euros for operations in the coming years.

He praised member states for making "an exceptional effort... because we know what the economic situation is."

Four billion euros have been earmarked for Ariane 6, of which 400 million euros will come from industry, officials said. A review of progress will be made in 2016.

Over 10 years, the 20-nation alliance will spend about eight billion euros on its launcher programme, including infrastructure such as a new launch pad at its base in Kourou, French Guiana.

The Ariane 5 traces its roots back nearly three decades.

A medium-to-heavy workhorse with an unbroken string of 62 successful launches to its name, it accounts for more than half of the world's commercial launch market.

Despite its reliability, Ariane 5 comes with high operational costs compared to nimble US commercial newcomers such as SpaceX.

"With this historic decision, the member states have given a strong reply to international competition in a strategic sector for European sovereignty, industry and jobs," Fioraso said.

"They showed that when it is united, Europe is strong and can respond collectively to challenge."

A replacement for the Ariane 5 had been a source of friction for the last two years, with France and Germany -- ESA's two biggest contributors -- pushing alternative approaches.

- Tension -

Germany said a new rocket would take so long to develop that rivals would have grabbed a fat share of the satellite market by the time it was ready.

It argued for a modified version of the existing rocket -- the Ariane 5 ME, for Midlife Evolution -- which would be ready by 2017 and yield early operational savings.

France had lobbied for switching directly to Ariane 6, whose first flight would take place in 2021 or 2022.

It argued the ME would drain crucial resources and lead to duplicated effort and probable holdups.

Under a compromise, the Ariane 6 will incorporate existing designs from the Ariane 5, ME and other projects.

It will culminate in two versions -- a two-booster or four-booster design -- able to take between five and 10 tonnes into orbit.

It will include a solid rocket motor, the P120C, being designed as an upgrade for ESA's Vega launcher that should be operational from 2018, as well as a strap-on booster.

But much of the rest will come from the Ariane 5, thus saving development costs and time, according to engineers.

According to Stephan Israel, head of Arianespace, which markets ESA's services, the current market price for a single launch of two satellites "is around $120 million."

The public face of the wrangle was about different approaches in engineering, driven by arguments of cost overruns and delay.

But an undercurrent was about sharing the funding bounty within Europe's space industry. France and Germany together account for nearly half of ESA's financing for launchers.

In return for climbing down on the ME, Germany lobbied France and Italy to beef up contributions to the International Space Station (ISS), where German firms have a big stake.

ESA had sought a three-year, 820-million-euro budget for the manned outpost in space.

"We have a figure of 800 million euros, it is more or less what we have requested," said Dordain.



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Launch Pad at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

After wrangle, Europe set to approve Ariane 6 launcher
Paris (AFP) Nov 30, 2014
After a two-year debate sparked by the emergence of low-cost competition, European space nations on Tuesday are likely to back plans to build a new rocket, the Ariane 6, say sources. Intended to be ready for 2020, the rocket will replace the Ariane 5, taking its place alongside the lightweight Vega and Russia's veteran Soyuz at the European Space Agency (ESA) base in Kourou, French Guiana. ... read more

Carnegie Mellon Unveils Lunar Rover "Andy"

Why we should mine the moon

Young Volcanoes on the Moon

Russia Preparing Joint Moon Exploration Agreement With EU

Traces of possible Martian biological activity inside a meteorite

Meteorite stirs life-on-Mars debate

NASA's Orion Flight Test and the Journey to Mars

Orion Test Flight a Critical Step on NASA's Journey to Mars

NASA Aeronautics contributes to Orion's atmospheric capability

NASA's deep space capsule poised for 2nd launch bid

NASA counts down key Orion test flight

Rocket woes delay deep space Orion launch until Friday

Service module of China's returned lunar orbiter reaches L2 point

China Launches Second Disaster Relief Satellite

China expects to introduce space law around 2020

China launches new remote sensing satellite

NASA's CATS Eyes Clouds, Smoke and Dust from the Space Station

3-D Printer Creates First Object in Space on ISS

Soyuz docks at Space Station; Expedition 42 joins crew

Italy's first female astronaut heads to ISS in Russian craft

Europe to build new-generation Ariane 6 rocket

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

Launch of European Ariane-5 Space Rocket From Kourou Postponed

Japan launches rocket carrying asteroid probe

'Mirage Earth' exoplanets may have burned away chances for life

Stardust Not Likely to Block Planet Portraits

Ground-based detection of exoplanets

Ground-Based Detection Paves Way to Remote Sensing of Small Exoplanets

See it, touch it, feel it

Chemists fabricate novel rewritable paper

Space travel is a bit safer than expected

Penn Research Shows Way to Design 'Digital' Metamaterials

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.