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European Space Agency Awards Airbus Safran Launchers a $2.65B Ariane 6 Contract


Airbus Safran Launcher

The European Space Agency has recently awarded the Ariane 6 development contract to Airbus Safran Launchers, a new joint venture in the launcher industry between Airbus Group and Safran. The contracts for the development of the Ariane 6 and its launch base, as well as the Vega C launcher, is valued at $2.68 billion for the Ariane 6, $669 million for the launch base, and $440 million for the Vega C.

"These contracts will allow the development of a family of European launchers, highly competitive in the world market and ensuring autonomous access to space at fully competitive prices for ESA's member states,"

said Johann-Dietrich Worner, general director of the European Space Agency.

The maiden flight for the Ariane 6 and its launch base is anticipated to take place in 2020, while the Vega C is expected to debut in 2018. The European Space Agency will manage the architecture and procurement for the launch systems, while Airbus Safran Launchers will be the prime contractor for the Ariane 6. Soon, Airbus Safran Launchers intends on finalizing the industrialization process and designs of the two Ariane 6 versions. The two new versions of the Ariane 6, which is due to replace the Ariane 5, will either be equipped with two boosters (Ariane 62) or four boosters (Ariane 64), depending on the mission. Airbus Safran Group Launchers intends on gradually increasing the rate of missions, with 12 launches scheduled for 2013. The development of the Ariane 6 was approved in December by European politicians, though initial design work will not be signed off on until 2016 when these European politicians meet again.

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