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Ariane-6 First Upper Stage Leaves for Kourou Aboard Canopée

ESA Vulcain 2.1 engine firing for Ariane 6. Credit ArianeGroup

Ibadan, 6 February 2024. – Arianegroup’s special ship “Canopée” has picked up the upper stage for the next generation of the European launch system, Ariane-6, from Bremen this week and is bringing it to Kourou in French Guiana. Ariane-6 will subsequently launch during the summer of 2024.

Ariane-6 will replace Ariane-5, which ensured Europe’s independent access to space for almost 30 years. Changing general conditions, from a changed competitive situation for load carriers to new requirements with regard to possible payloads, had made a new system necessary. The Ariane 6 will now be able to move up to eleven tons of payload with each launch, and it can also launch several satellites and place them in different orbits.

Arianegroup’s transport ship “Canopée” is just as vital as the upper stage, having already been to Bremen for tests in October last year. Canopée’s special feature is four large, folding sails that support the propulsion. Together they have an area of ​​around 1,400 square meters. The “Canopée” will eventually collect all the parts of the Ariane-6 rocket and transport them to Kourou for assembly and launch.

Speaking on the upper stage’s delivery, Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte commented, “Today is a good day for Bremen. With the delivery of the Ariane 6 upper stage, the Bremen space industry is continuing its impressive success story.” The Mayor also added, “The Ariane 6 with the upper stage made in Bremen is a central component of the European space program and an excellent ambassador for Bremen in space.”

Similarly, the German Senator for Economic Affairs, Kristina Vogt, said, ” My congratulations go to the ArianeGroup teams in Bremen, whose tireless efforts have ensured that the first upper stage of the new Ariane 6 can be delivered today.”

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