The European Space Agency on July 9th announced the approval of a design for its next generation rocket, the Ariane 6, according to the BBC.
Succeeding the heavy-duty launch vehicle Ariane 5, the new, substantially lower cost, Ariane 6 is intended to help Europe stay ahead in the satellite launch services market.
The smaller, more flexible Ariane 6 will launch only a single rocket at a time versus the two routinely orbited by its predecessor.
The spacecraft will use a general configuration involving two solid-fuelled lower stages and a liquid-fuelled upper-stage. The first stage relies on three motors to lift the rocket off the pad.
The trio of motors eventually separate, making way for the second solid stage that lifts the vehicle into space.
Once exhausted, the liquid-fuelled upper-stage will place the satellite in its final intended orbit.
The Ariane 6 is expected to enter service at the start of the next decade.