Arianespace to boost launches in 2026
November 17, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Arianespace has been beset by delays in the development of its new Ariane 6 rocket. The company blames Covid and the pandemic’s affect on component production for the new rocket. Arianespace has said that the new rocket will launch around Q4 2023. The launch company says it will take up to 2026 to ramp up production of between 9-11 rockets per year.
Arianespace has plenty of customers waiting for its development including European scientific and government missions plus 18 launches for Jeff Bezos; Project Kuiper broadband-by-satellite project. It should have launched its first Ariane 6 back in July 2020.
The Amazon order covers the Ariane 6 Block II, a more powerful version of the rocket. But, as yet the improved rocket has to receive development funding approval at a European Space Agency ministerial meeting in a few days and thus enter operation in the second half of 2025, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel says: “It shows our ability to continuously approve the rocket,” he added.
Arianespace’s current schedule calls for 4-5 launches in 2024, followed by 8 in 2025 and as mentioned a boosted 9-11 launches annually in 2026.
Stephane Israel says that Arianespace can increase the launch cadence in 2026-2027 but the company needed a clear business case.