Europe’s powerful new Ariane 6 rocket soars on debut flight, but hits a snag before reentry

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Science

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.The European Space Agency’s member countries have endured a months-long space access predicament while waiting to add a functioning launch vehicle to their toolbox.But a new rocket, dubbed Ariane 6, just launched on its maiden mission after years of delays and hang-ups in the development process.The flight kicked off at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, which lies along South America’s northern tip, at 3 p.m. ET. And it appeared to go through most of its milestones without a hitch, propelling itself through orbit. Cheers rang out in the control room as the Ariane 6 strolled through milestones, including deploying its first satellites.However, around 2 hours and 50 minutes into the flight, before the Ariane 6 upper rocket booster dove back toward Earth, intentionally plunging out of orbit, officials announced that an “anomaly” — aerospace parlance for something gone awry — occurred. The root cause of the issue was not immediately clear.An engine’s reignition stopped prematurely. That prevented the rocket from finishing its mission as expected.Though Tuesday’s mission didn’t go entirely as planned, the space agency hopes the Ariane 6 rocket system will go on to make the space agency more self-reliant and even challenge SpaceX’s dominance in the global market for launching satellites.SpaceX transformed the commercial launch marketFrance-based launch service provider Arianespace is the operator of Ariane 6. The aerospace …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnSign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.The European Space Agency’s member countries have endured a months-long space access predicament while waiting to add a functioning launch vehicle to their toolbox.But a new rocket, dubbed Ariane 6, just launched on its maiden mission after years of delays and hang-ups in the development process.The flight kicked off at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, which lies along South America’s northern tip, at 3 p.m. ET. And it appeared to go through most of its milestones without a hitch, propelling itself through orbit. Cheers rang out in the control room as the Ariane 6 strolled through milestones, including deploying its first satellites.However, around 2 hours and 50 minutes into the flight, before the Ariane 6 upper rocket booster dove back toward Earth, intentionally plunging out of orbit, officials announced that an “anomaly” — aerospace parlance for something gone awry — occurred. The root cause of the issue was not immediately clear.An engine’s reignition stopped prematurely. That prevented the rocket from finishing its mission as expected.Though Tuesday’s mission didn’t go entirely as planned, the space agency hopes the Ariane 6 rocket system will go on to make the space agency more self-reliant and even challenge SpaceX’s dominance in the global market for launching satellites.SpaceX transformed the commercial launch marketFrance-based launch service provider Arianespace is the operator of Ariane 6. The aerospace …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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