For Ariane 6, the first light at the end of a long tunnel: Inaugural flight set for June-July

by Peter B. de Selding

. LA PLATA, Maryland — After more than two years of repeated disappointments — with delay after delay and cost increases with them — managers of Europe’s Ariane 6 heavy-lift launcher on Nov. 30 held their first briefing where optimism, not embarrassment, was center stage.

Following a Nov. 23 test firing of the Ariane 6 core stage, which was described as the last major hurdle on the way to qualification, the vehicle is now en route for an inaugural flight between June 15 and July 31.

“We have stabilized the technical issues. We have stabilized the schedule,” European Space . . .

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