Arianespace and Blue Origin: the race to launch the new Ariane 6 and New Glenn rockets

Whether you like it or not, Elon Musk changed the market for space launches with the success of the Falcon 9 reusable baby carrier. In order not to widen the gap further, other companies are modifying their Road map meet for different difficulties. Among these we find Arianespace And blue origin with their respective Ariane 6 rockets And New Glenn.

ariane 6

New Ariadne 6 will replace Ariane 5 (the latter being the symbol vector for the launch of the JWST). It will not be a reusable vector and therefore not exactly a Falcon 9 counterpart, but it will allow Europe to have its own launch vector so as not to depend on third parties. New Glenn instead a next-generation rocket, more advanced (at least in theory) than Falcon 9 and capable of being able to reuse both the first and second stages. Not everything goes as planned as reported Space News’ Jeff Foust.

Arianespace and Blue Origin are late on the roadmap

From Arianespacethe objective is to test the first launch of Ariadne 6 by the end of 2022. There are still no precise timetables and the continuation of the pandemic could further slow down preparations. A few months ago, the launch was scheduled for the second quarter of 2022, then postponed to the third.

As reminded Stephane Israel (CEO of Arianespace) There are still five Ariane 5s available for launch after the one that will put the JWST into orbit, but they have already been sold. The estimates speak of the possibility of reaching the first part of 2023 at most, thus aiming for a minimum overlap with Ariadne 6.

blue origin

The situation at home blue origin even more complex. On the one hand, we have the problem related to BE-4 Engines which are used by both New Glenn that of ULA for the Vulcan Centaur. It was recently announced that the engines which should have been delivered in the current year will not be delivered until early 2022. Even so, ULA seems confident to be able to launch the inaugural carrier by mid-2022 and not in 2023 as the rumor said.

But if Vulcan Centaur needs two BE-4 engines, New Glenn I’m going to use seven of them because it’s much bigger. This leads to further difficulties. THE inaugural launch of this vector must take place in 2023 and no longer at the end of 2022, according to reports. While the ground operations prototype was seen recently, blue origin performs tests on fairing (expected to end mid-2022).

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’ company would build the first rocket designed for the maiden launch. Not having completed all the testing yet would be a risk, but at Blue Origin they believe it is a valid risk going forward. Jarrett Jones (VP of Blue Origin) said “I expect certification to be completed next year and we will have a rocket under construction, if not built, by the end of the year ready for launch”.

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