Ariane 6 stages en route to spaceport for months-long testing; late-2022 launch date is in doubt

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PARIS — The heavy-lift Ariane 6 rocket is two months or more behind the  prelaunch validation schedule set in late 2020, making it more likely that its inaugural flight will slip into early 2023.

Program managers are still holding out the hope of a late-2022 liftoff, but that would require a remarkably smooth series of test firings of the rocket’s first and second stages, and an equally smooth qualification of its communications with the ground segment during tests on the launch pad.

The core and upper stage . . .

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