The French government has taken the first formal step toward trying to birth an Ariane 5 replacement.
A joint study from the French space agency CNES, defense procurement agency DGA, and nuclear agency CEA makes the case for the government to initiate the definition studies to lead to an Ariane 6 development program. The timeline for fielding the new rocket would be 2020-2025.
The issue is to be put before the European Space Agency’s ministerial council in 2011.
The French government will now reach out to European partners to work out a timeline, says the office of French prime minister Francois Fillon.