Advanced Television

Ariane 6 delayed again

June 14, 2022

Arianespace has been silent on any launch delays for its important Ariane 6 rocket. However, the director general of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, told the BBC that the new rocket will not fly until some time next year.

Critics have suggested that Aschbacher did not attempt to disguise his words with phrases like “debut” or “tests” which suggests that the additional delay is very real.

Indeed, this is likely to be yet another major set-back for Arianespace. The rocket was originally scheduled to make a debut flight in 2020 but production delays, then Covid, have seen the rocket’s development and test programme slip, slip and slip again.

Aschbacher was speaking to Stephen Sackur on the BBC World Service’s HardTalk show broadcast on June 13th.

Sackur questioned Aschbacher on Europe’s strained relationship with Russia – and its rocket ability – created by the Ukraine war. He suggested that Europe was now an “also ran” as far as space was concerned and especially given the role of players such as Elon Musk in space and rocketry.

Aschbacjher said ESA is “working with NASA to see whether they could be a partner” on some key space missions after suspending cooperation with Russia in March in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ariane 6 rocket is needed to launch satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites, as well craft for commercial clients such as Viasat and Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper.

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