Ariane 6 Rocket Launch Goes Awry with Second Stage Anomaly, What Happens Next Will Shock You

Kourou, French Guiana – The maiden voyage of Europe’s groundbreaking new rocket, Ariane 6, encountered an unexpected setback during its launch on Tuesday. The long-anticipated event, marking the culmination of four years of development and technical challenges, was marred by a second stage anomaly that disrupted the mission’s success.

After a flawless liftoff from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 6 initiated a stage separation and successfully ignited the Vinci upper stage engine in orbit for the first time. However, approximately three hours into the mission, the European Space Agency (ESA) disclosed an “unexpected result” from the rocket’s first flight, indicating a deviation that would impact the mission’s conclusion.

The anomaly was attributed to a malfunction in the Auxiliary Propulsion Unit (APU) of Ariane 6’s upper stage, which caused a failure to increase its altitude and execute a vital third engine ignition. Consequently, the upper stage was unable to perform a scheduled deorbit burn, leaving the second stage stranded in orbit rather than descending into the Pacific Ocean as planned.

Despite the setback, Ariane 6 managed to deploy several small satellites and technology demonstrations during its debut flight. Nonetheless, the rocket encountered difficulties in deploying two payloads later in the mission, including small reentry capsules that failed to execute their deorbit burn due to the technical anomaly.

Designed as a successor to the retired Ariane 5 rocket, Ariane 6 serves as Europe’s key player in the space race following the end of the former’s 27-year service. The delayed debut of Ariane 6 left Europe without its own launch capabilities after terminating ties with Russia and losing access to Soyuz rockets amid the geopolitical tensions stemming from the Ukraine conflict.

Originally slated for launch in 2020, Ariane 6 faced multiple delays, including setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and technical obstacles encountered in its development phase. The rocket’s backlog of 30 missions, primarily intended for deploying Amazon’s Project Kuiper internet satellites into orbit, awaits resolution as engineers delve into the root cause of the launch anomaly.

In the aftermath of the launch failure, Ariane 6’s team plans to conduct a thorough analysis of the incident to ascertain the factors contributing to the anomaly. Despite the assurance from Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel that the anomaly will not impact future launches, doubts linger regarding the rocket’s reliability and the implications of the incident on upcoming missions.