The budget includes funds for the eventual transition over the course of the decade to the Ariane 6 rocket, a more flexible launch system than the current one that would allow the space agency to launch small, medium and large satellites."

Today, the Ariane 6 is born," ESA spokesman Franco Bonacina said.

The ESA will first build a modified version of the current Ariane 5, called the Ariane ME, before launching the Ariane 6.