COVID-19 and launchpad issues delay Ariane 6


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The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed today that the first launch of Arianespace’s Ariane 6 rocket will be delayed at least six months, to late 2021, due to lock downs related to the Wuhan flu panic, as well as construction issues at the rocket’s new launchpad.

“While we know that the maiden flight will not take place before the second semester of 2021, we cannot at this moment precisely quantify the delay, and we cannot provide an exact launch date,” Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s director of space transportation, said according to an ESA translation of remarks at a July 9 press event provided to SpaceNews. The French Association of Professional Journalists in Aeronautics, organized the event at ArianeGroup’s headquarters in Paris.

ESA hopes to have greater clarity on the delays in a few months, he said, according to the ESA translation.

It bodes bad for this rocket that they, at this time, have so little handle on the issues and the length of the delays.

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2 comments

  • Icepilot

    The ESU’s Ariane 6 & NASA’s Space Launch System are prime examples of blatant political corruption wasting billions of dollars on obsolete systems.
    NASA needs to stay in the rocketry business, but stop building rockets.
    Imagine the additional exploration and space infrastructure development available now, had that money been spent on something useful, like space-rated nuclear systems or LEO fuel depots.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Metaphorical dinosaur rockets like SLS and Ariane 6 are products of particular domestic political environments that have now been radically altered by the rise of SpaceX. SpaceX is, in many ways, affecting legacy aerospace companies and space agencies in much the same way the Chixalub asteroid impact affected actual dinosaurs. Dinosaur rockets and their makers have a few more years of blindly stumbling about before finally falling over dead, but their doom is certain.

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