Ariane 6 team makes it official: First flight not before end 2023 (read: likely early 2024); initial cost assessed

by Peter B. de Selding

SEOUL — The announcement by the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA) that the Ariane 6 rocket would not launch until late 2023, and possibly not until early 2024, will extend Europe’s absence from the heavy-lift launch market and almost certainly force at least one European government mission to seek a launch with SpaceX.

It will also have several cost consequences for the Ariane 6 development and transition programs, which are financed by ESA and until recently had assumed an early-2023 inaugural flight.

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