ariane 5

This was to be the one hundred and seventeenth and at the same time the last ever flight of the already legendary Ariane 5 rocket, so it’s no surprise that the eyes of the entire space sector were on the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, today. The launch, however, will not take place today.

Evidently, no one, along with the weather, is in a hurry to say goodbye to the rocket, which has carried payloads into orbit around the Earth for 27 years. The rocket’s last flight was originally scheduled for June 16th. However, that flight was canceled due to problems with the pyrotechnic cables inside the rocket.

The few dozen hours won’t change a thing. The next launch window opens at 2200 GMT and will remain open for one hour and five minutes. Provided, of course, that weather conditions improve.

For the final flight, the Ariane 5 rocket will launch a French military communications satellite and a German communications satellite.

In short: it’s a shame. Be that as it may, the rocket was responsible for the development of the European communications satellite sector, which flourished after 1996, when Ariane 5 began launching heavy payloads into orbit.

What about now? No one knows. It’s been three years since an Ariane 6 rocket was supposed to enter service and replace its predecessor. So far, the replacement is not there. At least until the beginning of 2024, Europe remains without its own transport of heavy cargo to orbit.

By Rad Kos

Author of OuterSpace24. Astronomy communicator. Writing daily about space since 2015. Over 6000 news articles under the belt.