European Space Agency (ESA) Celebrates Successful Sendoff of Ariane 6 Rocket

A truly historic moment for Europe’s space activities, the European Space Agency (ESA) accomplished the successful launches of the newest heavy-lift rocket system, the Ariane 6, from the well-known Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. This inaugural mission known as VA262 is a major milestone that has placed ESA in a better strategic position and offered a much increased goal within the global space launch services industry. 

Unlike Falcon 9 rockets produced by SpaceX with the reusable design to lower the expenses on launches, the Ariane 6 has a more traditional expendable design. This is a model that literally implies a new rocket for each Ariane 6 mission, at a rationale that ESA has a slower rate of going to space than some commercial service providers such as SpaceX. 

This model was masterminded by ArianeGroup a joint venture of Airbus and Safran from the Ariane 5 which has successfully made 40 launches. On the other hand, SpaceX has launched more than 200 times the Falcon series which indicates the intensity and technological warfare in the commercial space industry. 

Ariane with James Webb Space Telescope Prelaunch NHQ
Bill Ingalls, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another advantage of Ariane 6 is the new and innovative upper stage or a rocket that has a restartable rocket engine. This kind of flexibility enables the rocket to deliver multiple shots, and therefore can place the required payloads to different orbits within the same mission. In addition, the upper stage performs a final burn to essentially ensure its safe landing after it has released the payload and, therefore plays a significant role in the minimization of what is fast becoming a major issue in space-related activities, which is space debris. 

The Ariane 6 rocket’s first launch was successful and space clients on board at liftoff were Germany’s first two telecommunication satellites and NASA’s CubeSat Radio Interferometry Experiment (Curie). Curie, the instrument intended for observation of radio waves radiating from space objects, is an epitome of the policy aimed at teaming up with other countries in the development and launch of world-space programs and innovations. 

Today’s Ariane 6 launch was scheduled to start at 12:30 pm, but the beginning was shifted by an hour following a minor problem with data identified during the final check. However, through the conclusive and efficient manner employed by ESA the problem was immediately addressed making certain that the launch was conducted within the stipulated time. They deemed the weather appropriate for fuelling and this saw them loading liquid hydrogen for rocket fuel and liquid oxygen to support the same. 

Franck Saingou the architect of the Ariane 6 launch system said, ‘Although all the rehearsals make it seem easy to pop open a rocket, it remains a very delicate and very big business’, this is a testimony to the basic preparations by the ESA and its partners hoping to get it right in the first run of Ariane 6 and learning from the past where the debut flight of new models of rockets has not been a walk 

According to Tony dos Santos, ESA’s Kourou technical manager, success would not come easy as it is couch on the notion that payment of relief would only come with the deployment of the several payloads into the planned orbits. 

That is why Ariane 6 rocket is one more indicator of Europe’s dedication to the development of space sciences and satellite launching technologies. , optional boosters, and a new upper stage, the main mission of the rocket is to deliver increased power together with greater flexibility and decreased cost for various types of missions: the research, Earth observation, telecommunications, and commercial satellite placement. 

While Ariane 6 is moving from its provisioned first launch towards everyday use, ESA is already looking forward to using this vehicle to push the frontier of space beyond what has already been achieved and to increase Europe’s presence in the international space sector. 

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