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This may finally be the year we see some new chunky rockets take flight

The Falcon Heavy rocket is the most recent heavy-lift booster to debut, and that was more than three years ago.

Enlarge / The Falcon Heavy rocket is the most recent heavy-lift booster to debut, and that was more than three years ago. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica)

A little more than three years ago, Ars published an article assessing the potential for four large rockets to make their debut in 2020. Spoiler alert: none of them made it. None even made it in 2021. So will next year finally be the year for some of them?

Probably. Maybe. We sure hope so.

At the time of the older article’s publication, July 2018, four heavy-lift rockets still had scheduled launch dates for 2020—the European Space Agency’s Ariane 6, NASA’s Space Launch System, Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket. The article estimated the actual launch dates, predicting that Europe’s Ariane 6 would be the only rocket to make a launch attempt in 2020. All four of the predicted launch dates proved overly optimistic, alas.

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