. 24/7 Space News .
ESA lays out roadmap to Ariane 6 and Vega-C flights
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Oct 30, 2020

Illustration of Ariane 6 using four boosters.

Vega-C and Ariane 6 are being developed by ESA to assure Europe's independent access to space. The maiden flight for Vega-C is planned to take place in June 2021, that for Ariane 6 for the second quarter of 2022.

Solid progress is being made on both Vega-C and Ariane 6 development programmes. Since March, some technical events and the COVID-19 pandemic have both impacted the progress of activities. Uncertainty from COVID-19 still persists globally to date.

Vega-C is a more powerful and versatile version of the Vega launch vehicle currently operating at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Vega-C's maiden flight is planned for June 2021.

Vega was on track for its return to flight, after the July 2019 failure, with its mission (VV16) in March 2020, but Europe's Spaceport had to be closed due to COVID-19 safety measures. The VV16 launch campaign resumed in May but several further launch attempts were halted due to unfavourable weather. Vega's return to flight, with the new SSMS dispenser carrying 53 satellites, was successfully launched on 2 September.

Between February and September no activities for the preparation of Vega-C were possible in the Vega mobile gantry while it housed the P80 solid rocket motor in readiness for flight VV16, due to safety constraints.

The qualification at system and subsystems level is currently under finalisation.

As from October, all the new solid motors for Vega-C have completed qualification testing. The Zefiro-40 solid rocket motor for Vega-C completed qualification tests in 2019. The final test of the P120C took place successfully on 7 October.

Two Vega flights, VV17 and VV18, are planned before Vega-C. Activities for the modification of the mobile gantry for Vega-C, such as modifications of the fluids networks as well as connection and installation of the new control bench for Vega-C, will have to start after VV18 now planned early February.

Vega-C maiden flight is planned for June 2021.

Vega-C is a project managed and funded by the European Space Agency. Avio is the industrial prime contractor. Arianespace commercialises Vega-C.

Ariane 6
ESA, CNES and ArianeGroup have jointly established a consolidated reference planning for Ariane 6 development and are working as an integrated team in their respective roles to make it happen. This schedule is based on analysis of recent achievements, remaining critical milestones and the impact on the programme caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the successful third static fire test of the P120C solid rocket motor on 7 October, all the propulsion elements of the launcher system have completed their qualification tests.

At Europe's Spaceport, activities for the finalisation of the Ariane 6 launch base are progressing. First integration testing with fullscale 'mock-ups' of the P120C strap-on booster and of Ariane 6's central core took place in the new mobile gantry. Testing of the cryogenic arms that link the launch pad and the launch vehicle are also ongoing at Fos-sur-Mer in France, before shipping to French Guiana.

ArianeGroup is completing the challenging development and qualification of the Ariane 6 Auxiliary Power Unit for the upper stage. This device will allow Europe to offer additional capabilities in satellite deployment for the satellite constellation market.

The first Ariane 6 upper stage has been assembled in Bremen, Germany. Coupling the launcher's tanks with the equipped engine bay of the re-ignitable Vinci engine for the first time. The upper stage is currently undergoing mechanical, fluid and electrical tests, before leaving for further tests at the DLR German Aerospace Center's Lampoldshausen facilities in Germany.

There, the complete stage will be hot fire tested on a new test bench specially developed by DLR for the Ariane 6 upper stage. The Ariane 6 upper stage static fire tests are planned to start in the second quarter of 2021.

In parallel, the first Ariane 6 core stage and the second Ariane 6 upper stage are under preparation. These specimen will be shipped to Europe's Spaceport from Les Mureaux (France) and Bremen (Germany) respectively, for the combined tests campaign.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Ariane 6 launch base will be handed over from CNES to ESA. At this point the Ariane 6 combined tests campaign can start. These series of tests will bring the launch vehicle and launch base together for the first time for integrated tests of multiple systems. This will include a static fire test of Ariane 6 while standing on the launch pad for the first time.

Following the successful combined test campaign and Ground qualification review of the launch system, the first launch campaign, with the integration of the maiden flight hardware, will start.

When all these steps are successfully completed Ariane 6 will be in a position to perform its maiden flight in the second quarter of 2022.

Ariane 6 is a project managed and funded by the European Space Agency. ArianeGroup is design authority and industrial prime contractor for the launcher system. The French space agency CNES is prime contractor for the development of the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Arianespace commercialises Ariane 6.

Impact of COVID-19
The measures taken to control the pandemic have seriously impacted the progress of activities both in Europe and at Europe's Spaceport since March 2020, including as a result of social distancing, site lockdowns and reduced capacity at facilities, travel restrictions, quarantines and confinement measures.

This has considerably slowed all working and operational processes for prime contractors and their respective subcontractors around 13 European countries. Ongoing pandemic effects continue to disrupt on-going development and operations.

"We constantly and closely monitor the COVID-19 impact and technical challenges on our ongoing space transportation developments and operations. Together with our contractual partners and participating States, ESA continues to pull together towards our common priority goals which are the maiden flights of Vega-C and Ariane 6," commented Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at ESA.

Related Links
Space Transportation at ESA
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Soyuz launches from Kourou delayed again due to Covid-19
Moscow (Sputnik) Oct 20, 2020
Launches of Russian Soyuz carrier rockets from the Kourou Space Center, put off amid the coronavirus pandemic, are being delayed again, a space industry source told Sputnik. Last month, a spokesperson of Russian space agency Roscosmos told Sputnik that the next launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kourou was expected to take place at the start of November. "The launch has been delayed at least until the end of November," a space source told Sputnik on Sunday, explaining that some problems w ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NSF and CASIS select five transport phenomena projects for flight to ISS

Cygnus delivers slew of research programs to Space Station

NASA to commercialize Near-Earth communications services

Virgin Galactic hires two new pilots

UB awarded $8.5 million to improve 'hybrid' space rockets

ABL Space Systems performs integrated stage test of the RS1 launch vehicle

All solid motors for Vega-C complete qualification tests

NASA refueling mission completes second set of robotic tool operations in space

Geologists simulate soil conditions to help grow plants on Mars

NASA's Perseverance Rover Is Midway to Mars

Sensors on Mars 2020 Spacecraft Answer Long-Distance Call From Earth

Leonardo at work on robotic arms for the NASA and ESA Mars Sample Return mission

China Focus: 18 reserve astronauts selected for China's manned space program

State-owned space giant prepares for giant step in space

China's Xichang launch center to carry out 10 missions by end of March

Eighteen new astronauts chosen for China's space station mission

SpaceX launches public beta test of Starlink Internet service

Budding space entrepreneurs wow industry experts

ESA Masterclass full series: Leadership at Mission Control

Start of the production of the Skylark Constellation

D-Orbit announces successful ORIGIN mission

Rad-Hardened motor controller consolidates essential functions into a single chip

Big data firm Palantir working with US on vaccine effort

NanoAvionics goes hyper-spectral

Microbial diversity below seafloor is as rich as on Earth's surface

Data reveals evidence of molecular absorption in the atmosphere of a hot Neptune

AI and photonics join forces to make it easier to find 'new Earths'

Smile, wave: Some exoplanets may be able to see us, too

NASA's Webb To Examine Objects in the Graveyard of the Solar System

Lighting a Path to Find Planet Nine

The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not for the same reasons as on Earth

Arrokoth: Flattening of a snowman

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.