The European Space Agency has formally ordered seven Ariane 6 flights to take place between 2021 and 2023. The order has allowed ArianeGroup, the conglomerate building the Ariane 6, to start production of the first batch of 14 launch vehicles. It has not been specified how many will be in the two-booster Ariane-62 and four booster Ariane-64 configurations.
The other launches are expected to go to military and commercial clients and will be marketed by Arianespace – the launch providing arm of ArianeGroup. To date, only the launch vehicle for the maiden flight in 2020 has been formally ordered. This now has a commercial customer with OneWeb flying part of its constellation aboard this “risky” first flight of an Ariane 6 (maiden flights traditionally have high failure rates).
Exactly which ESA missions will fly on the rocket are yet to be announced. What has been decided, however, is that Ariane 6 will be allocated spacecraft of 2,350kg or more, while spacecraft less than this will be allocated to the Vega-C, the newest version of Vega which, to some extent, competes with the smaller version of the Ariane 6, the Ariane 62.