Artist’s view of the European launcher family.
Shown from left to right: Ariane 5, Vega, Vega-C, as well as the two booster Ariane 6 (A62) and the four booster Ariane 6 (A64) variants.
The first flight of Ariane 6 is planned for 2020. Ariane 6 provides a modular architecture using either two boosters (Ariane 62) or four boosters (Ariane 64), depending on the required performance. The P120C solid-propellant boosters will be common with Vega-C.
Credit: ESA – D. Ducros

The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a one-year contract with ArianeGroup to study and prepare for a mission to go to the Moon with the aim of mining regolith.

Credit: PTScientists

ArianeGroup with Arianespace joined forces with a German start-up, PTScientists, which will provide the lunar lander, and a Belgian SME, Space Applications Services, which will provide the ground control facilities, the communications and the associated service operations.

Booster use

This 100% European innovative consortium could provide services for the entire mission, from launch and Moon transfer to Moon landing and communication on the lunar surface of the payloads needed for the mission.

“This first contract – symbolically announced on the day of a lunar eclipse – is a milestone for ArianeGroup, which has for a long time been working on technological proposals for space logistics servicing,” explained André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup.

Credit: Joerg Mitter/PTScientists

“It is also an opportunity to recall the ability of Ariane 64 to carry out Moon missions for its institutional customers,” Roussel said in a press statement, a booster with a payload capacity of up to 8.5 metric tons.

Independent access

ArianeGroup underscores its ambition to guarantee independent, sovereign access to space for Europe.

PTScientists: In our first mission, Mission to the Moon, we will be sending two Audi lunar quattro rovers to the lunar surface and revisiting the landing site of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, humans last set foot on the Moon, back in 1972.
Credit: PTScientists



ArianeGroup is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary.






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