At least there is something to look forward to, though it depends on how the second test goes. Fingers and toes crossed that there are no more delays.
Has all of the flight hardware for the first Ariane 6 mission been manufactured?
First view of Ariane 6 on the launchpad.

At least Ariane 6 is on the pad now. I am waiting patiently on the engine tests to start, then and only then will we get a first launch to look forward to.
Thanks for posting the video Flyaway, it will be sad to see Ariane 5 retire. Let's see if Ariane 6 passes all the engine tests, but I fear that Ariane 6 will not be as successful as Ariane 5 was in terms of launch contracts.
Stands Prometheus H for Hydrogen and M for Methane ?
To his credit, back in 2013 flyback booster studies were definitively not encouraging. Much like RLV, TSTO and SSTO, the damn things needed extremely high flight rates. Now, satellite constellations already existed, as early as the 1990's. The related RLV craze also had existed. Except the whole thing had crashed and burned with the dot-com bubble in the fall of 2000.
Back then the sat constellation were not for broadband Internet but for mobile phones. Right of 1997 however GSM and ground antennas nuked satphones into oblivion, except perhaps at the poles.

The return of satellite constellations started with OneWeb, in 2008. Musk however kind of self turbocharged his (reusable) rockets flight rates with Starlink.

To Musk credit, the way he recovers his boosters had been barely explored before. Flyback, splashdowns, maybe, but vertical landing helicopter style ? pretty rare.
When is the scheduled launch date?
Here’s a detailed article on the life and times of Ariane 5 including this final launch. This makes me feel old as I can remember Ariane 4 in service as well.


The final launch of the Ariane 5 rocket is coming up later today. Bella Richards (@bellaa_richards) with the overview of its final mission and its 27 years of service.

Me too. I can remember when it was all the hype: 1995 with Hermes - or bust. (well, bust, they did: Ariane first flight and Hermes before it).
This makes me feel old as I can remember Ariane 4 in service as well.

I remember it too but I also remember all of the hype surrounding the Ariane 5 and its first flight only for it to go boom and then finding out a few months later it was avoidable but happened due to excessive reuse of Ariane 4 software and not taking into account the dramatic increase in performance of the Ariane 5 over the Ariane 4.

Me too. I can remember when it was all the hype: 1995 with Hermes - or bust.

Yeah, I remember all of the excitement in aviation magazines such as Flight International and Aviation Week&Space Technology also on science programmes such as Beyond 2000 in the early 1990s. Then it was cancelled, the ESA really, REALLY dropped the ball here.
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- on the engineering side, building a spaceplane turned out to be a lot more complex than was foreseen, so the cost was ballooning. So was the weight, this was increasing on a trajectory that was threatening to make the Ariane 5 incapable of lifting Hermes to orbit.
- on the political side, the will to keep shoveling money at the program was not there, especially from the Germans, who had an even bigger money pit to contend with (reunification with DDR, $100 billion per year).
I don't see how ESA dropped the ball on this.
I was too young to care about the first launch of Ariane 5, but my uncle who worked on vulcain at snecma at the time told me a lot about that period in the mid 90s. The first launches I watched were some of the last Ariane 4, and I remember plastering my kid room with Ariane 4 and 5 posters. Ariane 5 has been the quintessential rocket to me for all my life and I'm quite sad to see it go. Never seeing one launch in person will stick as a big regret to me. Now onto Ariane 6, and hopefully much more european launchers.

This will also be the last launch ever of a HM7...
i watch the first launch of Ariane 5 on tube television in 1996 on French TV
and in old Tradition of European rocketry it ended in explosion.
Follow by evacuation of the french President and VIPs from Space Port.

and remember to see launches of last Apollo Skylab mission on B/W television as Kid
and Shuttle launches as Teenager

yes i'm old...
Farewell Ariane 5.


Personally I think that Arianespace shouldn't haven't terminated production of the Ariane 5 till the Ariane 6 had a couple of successful launches.
To me Ariane 6 feels outdated compared to the direction of travel in the launch industry before it has ever flown.
That is so true Flyaway. And it will possibly won't last as long as Ariane 5 did.
Which *is* a good thing.

Ariane ECA having little changes for 20 years is not. A dynamic launch provider in a dynamic sector must iterate and innovate, like SpaceX now, or Arianespace in the 80s-90s.
I cannot understand why they are being so tentative about developing reusability, anyone would think that it hadn’t been demonstrated in the sector. I know it’s no doubt harder to develop than it looks, but I still feel they should be committing more time and resources to it than they are.
I would dearly love to see an officially published, vetted, thorough qualitative and quantitative engineering, design commonality, performance, and cost comparison between A6 vs. A5, for example regarding main propellants, engines, those wretched solid boosters, tank diameters, fairing design, etc. (admittedly I'm way too lazy/unmotivated to do that on my own). As a European citizen though, I think this is a lipstick on a pig in lipstick shape exercise that mainly caters to the Italian solid propellant booster shall we say "family" business. As a German born and raised aerospace engineer, I am thoroughly disgusted by this absolutely wretched abomination, but since I no longer pay EU taxes, whatever, mafia dudes. But I'm not bitter at all, and also please don't shoot me...
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There are much, much worse use of my tax Money than funding Ariane 6. Between no new rocket and an Ariane 6, yeah I vastly prefer paying that small contribution to it, if only to re-develop skills at a european scale.

As enjoyable criticising Avio is, from my point of view the delays aren’t visibly caused by any parts they have the responsibilities of... we’d have to look more at the Arianegroup sites in Germany working on the ULPM, or the ground infrastructure and integrated tests under the partial responsibility of CNES&CSG.

So strange it sound the Ariane hardware still alive
there is nation that still used French Ariane 4 technology for this Rocket
In a Way the Half-brother to Ariane 5

The SEP-ISRO Viking technology transfer has always been interesting, it didn't involve any exchange of money. Instead ISRO agreed to provide SEP&Aerospatiale with 10,000 transducers - this was the entire basis of the transfer, from there over 40 engineers, technicians and their families went to Vernon for a few years.

A few years later in 1978, SEP offered to sell HM-7 technology for $150,000, yes, $150k ! And ISRO refused, claiming they lacked the manpower to handle it at the time... 10 years later in 1988-9 ISRO went looking for cryogenic propulsion technology transfer, General Dynamic asked for $800 Millions for 2 Centaurs, without technology transfer due to MTCR; SEP asked for over 1 billion for HM-7 technology, in the end ISRO had to look to the Russians, and it did work out for them in the end.
the plan is to use the various R&D Programs (Themis, Callisto, Prometheus) to inform the decision on what Ariane 7 should look like and how it should work.
There will be an Ariane 7 NMaude, it will be just a matter of time as to when we will see it after Ariane 6 finally gets launched.

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