Europe's new Ariane 6 satellite launcher will stage a long-awaited inaugural flight on July 9, the head of the European Space Agency said at the Berlin Airshow on Wednesday.

The delayed debut comes a year after its predecessor, Ariane 5, was retired, leaving Europe with no independent path to orbit for its satellites after setbacks involving a smaller Italian alternative and the severing of ties with Russia over Ukraine. (Reporting by Joanna Plucinska Writing by Madeline Chambers Editing by Thomas Seythal)