With Vega-C rocket now qualified, attention focuses on vehicle’s near-term enhancements — and Ariane 6

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — It was seven years ago this August that the European Space agency (ESA) signed what it called its “ceiling commitments” in contracts to develop the upgraded Vega-C rocket and the new heavy-lift Ariane 6.

The contracts — 395 million euros for Vega-C, including the inaugural flight in 2018, and 2.4 billion euros for Ariane 6, with a flight to be in 2020 — have since been modified substantially.

Vega-C’s successful inaugural flight on July 13 puts that vehicle three years behind schedule . . .

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