Europe’s first Ariane 6 flight achieved most of its goals, but ended prematurely

Enlarge / Europe’s first Ariane 6 rocket lifts off from a new launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana.Jody Amiet/AFP via Getty Images

The first European Ariane 6 rocket fired off its launch pad at the edge of the Amazon rainforest and climbed into orbit Tuesday, an inaugural flight a decade in the making that restored Europe’s ability to put its own large satellites into space.

The debut of the Ariane 6 rocket came almost exactly one year after Europe’s previous workhorse rocket, the Ariane 5, flew for the final time. Running four years late, the Ariane 6 is set to become

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