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ESA Council decides on the completion of Ariane 6 and endorses start of transition from Ariane 5 to Ariane 6

on 28 June 2018

This June, the ESA Council met in Paris to discuss the path towards the future exploitation of Ariane 6. In view of the progress made in the Ariane 6 programme, Participating States [1], among which is also Romania, decided on the completion of the development up to full operational capability and agreed to fund industrial incentives associated with the development of Ariane 6 and P120C solid rocket motor.

Participating States also committed to start with the first step of the Ariane 6 and P120C Transition Programme. This programme supports the evolution from Europe’s Ariane 5 to full operational capability of Ariane 6.

Ariane 6 is Europe’s new-generation launcher, designed to secure guaranteed access to space for Europe at an affordable price for European institutional users. It will operate in two configurations: Ariane 62 is fitted with two P120C strap-on boosters while Ariane 64 has four. Ariane 6’s maiden flight is planned for mid-2020.

P120C is the largest carbon-fibre solid propellant booster ever built in one segment at almost 13.5 m long and about 3.4 m in diameter. Two boosters will be used on Ariane 6’s maiden flight in 2020.

The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) obtained Romania’s participation in the programme for the development of the latest European rocket, Ariane 6, at the ESA Ministerial Council in 2014. By prioritising Romania's participation in this programme, ROSA provided the space industry in Romania with the opportunity to enrol in the competition for contracts for developing the European launcher's components. Romania's participation in the development of Ariane 6 contributes to the technological development, innovation and training in niche areas, reinforcing the role Romania plays in the European and global space strategy.

[1] The participating states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Image credit: ESA-David Ducros