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Ariane 6 central core transferred to mobile gantry
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jul 13, 2022

Ariane 6 central core verticalisation 11 July 2022

The Ariane 6 launch pad at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana now hosts the first example of ESA's new heavy-lift rocket. This Ariane 6 combined tests model will be used to validate the entire launch system during its ground phase in readiness for the inaugural launch of Ariane 6.

The combined tests include filling tanks, and draining them in case of launch abort, count-down automated sequence, and cryogenic arms disconnection and retraction at a simulated liftoff.

These tests will be carried out under ESA's authority by an integrated team from ESA, ArianeGroup and French space agency CNES.

The Ariane 6 combined tests model is highly representative of the flight model. It consists of the core stage and the upper stage, which make up the central core, as well as three pylons shaped like the rocket's solid boosters and a fully representative but inert mockup of the fourth booster.

The Ariane 6 combined tests model central core was precisely mated in the purpose-built launcher assembly building, where this task is carried out horizontally. Automated guidance vehicles then brought the assembled core to the launch and, working with the crane at the mobile gantry, raised it to its vertical position.

"This key milestone is a cornerstone of the validation of the Ariane 6 integration concept which was imagined at the very beginning of this wonderful adventure. Achieving it is a source of great pride and a terrific motivator for Ariane 6 teams", says Jerome Crubilhe, ESA Mechanical Engineer.

Before receiving the central core, launch pad systems underwent a battery of tests to check the "cryogenic connection system" of umbilical cords carrying hydrogen and oxygen fuel - liquified at -253C and -183C respectively - that will keep the rocket topped up in the critical moments before liftoff. The system must also deliver helium and nitrogen used for flushing and purging.

Critically, these systems are designed to remain connected to the rocket until nearly the moment of liftoff. The method demands careful choreography of large mechanical systems but brings several advantages by improving reliability and availability while eliminating some equipment that is not needed in flight. The net result is to reduce the rocket's dry mass and recurring costs.

Also, last-moment decoupling does away with some purging lines needed by Ariane 5, to reduce recurring costs and the dry mass of the rocket.

Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA's Director of Space Transportation, said: "I am delighted to see solid progress towards first flight. Ariane 6 marks a new era in reliable, competitive and autonomous European spaceflight.

"Ariane 6 is also the foundation for a series of developments which will maintain Europe's gateway to space into the 2030s."

Ariane 6 is a modular launch vehicle using either two or four P120C strap-on boosters, depending on mission requirements. The P120C engine does double duty, also serving as the first stage of ESA's new Vega-C rocket.

The reignitable Vinci engine which powers the upper stage allows Ariane 6 to deliver multiple payloads to different orbits on a single launch. After payload separation a final engine burn deorbits the upper stage so that it does not become a debris threat in space.?

Ariane 6 development is project-managed and funded by ESA, which also acts as launch system architect. ArianeGroup is design authority and industrial prime contractor for the launcher system and CNES is prime contractor for the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe's Spaceport. Arianespace?is the launch service provider of Ariane 6.?

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First Ariane 5 launch of 2022 is a success for Malaysia and India clients
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jun 22, 2022
On Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 06:50 pm local time, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), successfully orbiting two geostationary telecommunication satellites, MEASAT-3d and GSAT-24. "With this Ariane 5 mission, Arianespace is honored to support the ambitions of two key actors in the Asia-Pacific region: MEASAT, the leading Malaysian satellite operator and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India compa ... read more

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