The Canopée was launched today, 28 June, at the Partner Stoczina shipyard in Szczecin, Poland. Dutch Neptune Maritime Projects won the contract to build the sailing cargo ship, which will transport Ariane 6 rockets, in January 2021.

The 121-metre-long ship will be equipped with four 30-metre-high Oceanwings. The Oceanwings sail panels will cover an area of 375 square metres each and should save around 35 per cent on fuel consumption. According to the French client Alizés, the Canopée is a prototype, but it is not clear how many ships in total will be built. Groot Ship Design supplied the naval architecture and all engineering for steel construction.

Also read: Sailing freighter Canopée for Ariane 6 rockets taking shape

Alizés, which means trade winds, is a joint venture between the French shipping companies Jifmar Offshore Services and Zéphyr et Borée set up especially for this project. It won the Ariane Group’s tender a year ago for a new transport concept, beating among others the large French shipping company Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. Alizés is already transporting rockets, but has chartered general cargo vessel Eastern Rock to use until the Canopée is ready.

Also read: Approval in Principle for Canopee’s Oceanwings wind propulsion system

Canopée’s structure has been specially designed to transport containerised sections of Ariane 6 launchers. The vessel will transport Ariane rockets from Europe to French Guyana. As such it has been specifically designed to be able to navigate upriver at Kourou, right to the dock near the Spaceport.

Construction of the Canopée is proceeding according to plan. Now that the ship has been launched, construction will continue afloat.

Also read: Neptune to build sailing freighter for transport of Ariane 6 rockets

Picture (top) by Neptune Marine.