Moment Ariane-6 rocket blasts into space on first flight

The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched its Ariane-6 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana.

Developed at a cost of €4bn (£3.4bn), Europe’s new rocket set off at about 16:00 local time (19:00 GMT), restoring the continent’s independent access to space.

ESA chief Josef Aschbacher said the successful launch marked a “historic day” for Europe.

Unlike some of its recent American competitors, the Ariane-6 is expendable and a new one is needed for every mission.

The rocket will take payloads into orbit more cheaply than its predecessor, Ariane-5. The ESA is expecting to make up to 11 launches a year.

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