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All your questions

Ariane 6

I’ve heard talk of Ariane 6. What is this? Mathieu Licasse

Ariane 6 is a term often used to refer to the future generation of the European Ariane launch vehicle (the current Ariane, built by EADS with other European manufacturers, is in its 5th version). Ariane 5 ME (Midlife Evolution), which consists of making the current Ariane 5 more powerful, is one of the intermediate projects envisaged. However, the European Space Agency will shortly have to take some important decisions with regard to the future of the Ariane family. In this respect, the next meeting of the relevant ministers from the Agency’s Member States, scheduled for the end of 2012, will be crucial.

Ariane 5 ME on the ESA website


Study programme for future launchers (ESA)

2012, end of the world?

I am very scared of the end of the world. Will it be soon? Helloise Zanon

This user is probably referring to crazy predictions that state the end of the world will be in 2012, according to the Maya calendar (and especially his wrong and fanciful interpretation). Believers of conspiracy theories think that NASA is hiding the existence of a planet (Nibiru, according to some) that will hit Earth before the end of the year, causing the end of our civilization… We can assure you, such wild imaginings mean nothing. You can read the excellent work from Fabrice Mottez and Didier Jamet on this subject, entitled "2012, scénarios pour une fin du monde".

How is SLS coming along?

Will NASA’s project concerning the SLS launch vehicle come to fruition? If yes, what is the time-scale? Matthieu Licasse

The Space Launch System, the American Space Agency’s heavy launch vehicle project is still underway and the programme is making regular progress (testing of the J-2X engine, start of the flight software development, etc). However, it is clear that the future of the SLS essentially depends on its budget being maintained during the annual vote as regards the financial resources allocated to NASA by American elected representatives.

Enjoy Space article

SLS website (NASA)

Official SLS Facebook page

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