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EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Ariane 6 launch system configurations, illustration. At left is the two-booster configuration, with the four-booster configuration at right. Ariane 6 is a launch vehicle developed by the European Space Agency and part of the Ariane launch vehicle family. It has two lower stages, plus an upper stage and a payload section. The first stage is three P145 solid rocket boosters, with a fourth P145 solid rocket booster making up the second stage. The third (upper) stage will use the Vinci rocket engine also used on the Ariane 5. The payload faring is 5.4 metres across. The entire rocket is 70 metres long and designed to put communications satellites in geostationary transfer orbit around the Earth. The first Ariane 6 launch is expected to take place in around 2021.
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