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European rocket Ariane 6

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Ariane 6 is a launch vehicle under development by the European Space Agency (ESA), with a first test flight scheduled for 2020.If development is completed, it will become the newest member in the Ariane launch vehicle family. The final design was selected by the ESA ministerial-level meeting in December 2014,favoring a liquid-fueled core with large solid rocket boosters over the initial solid-fuel rocket design.

Ariane 6 will come in two variants.

  • Ariane 62, with two P120 solid boosters, will weigh around 500 tonnes (1,100,000 lb) at liftoff and is intended mainly for government and scientific missions. It will be capable of launching up to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) into GTO.
  • Ariane 64, with four P120 boosters, will have a liftoff weight of around 800 tonnes (1,800,000 lb) and is intended for commercial dual-satellite launches of up to 10,500 kg (23,100 lb) to GTO.

Ariane 6 will be made up of three major structural and propellant-carrying components.

First stage[edit]

The Ariane 6 first stage will be powered by a single Vulcain 2 engine burning liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen(LOX). It will be 4.6 m (15 ft) in diameter and contain approximately 149 tonnes (328,000 lb) of propellant.

P120 solid rocket boosters

Additional thrust for the first stage will be provided by either two or four P120 Solid rocket boosters. These boosters will each contain approximately 120 tonnes (260,000 lb) propellant and will deliver up to 3,500 kN (790,000 lbf) thrust. Additionally, the P120 is intended to be used on an upgraded Vega launcher.

Upper stage

The upper stage, also 4.6 m (15 ft) in diameter, will be powered by a Vinci engine providing 180 kN (40,000 lbf) thrust. It will contain approximately 30 tonnes (66,000 lb) LH2 and LOX propellant.