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ESA releases design of Ariane 6 rocket
Posted: Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 8:12 AM ET (1212 GMT)
Ariane 6 illustration (ESA) The European space Agency (ESA) released this week the planned design of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, which will trade reduced performance versus the current Ariane 5 for lower launch costs. The Ariane 6 will feature what ESA calls a "Multi P linear" design, with three solid motors arranged in-line for the first stage and a fourth solid motor mounted above as the second stage. A version of the upper stage of the Ariane 5 ME, an updated version of the current Ariane 5, will be used for the upper stage of the Ariane 6. The Ariane 6 will be able to place payloads of up to 6,500 kilograms into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), compared to the approximately 10,000-kilogram performance of the current Ariane 5. The Ariane 6, however, will be considerably less expensive, with a target launch cost of €70 million (US$91 million). Ariane 6 is expected to enter service by the early 2020s.
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