Every weekend, an image that made the news or caught our attention. On June 22, the gantry which houses a functional model of Ariane 6 for the combined tests in French Guiana was removed for the first time.
Preliminary functional tests
On June 22, on theELA4 (Ariane Launch Complex No. 4) of the Guiana Space Centerthe gigantic mobile gantry ofAriadne 6 (with a height of 89 m and a mass of 8,200 t), which houses the functional model CTM (Combined Test Model) of the new European heavy launcher, has been moved back.
This is the first time that Ariane 6 has been in the open air on the ZL4 (Launch Zone n°4), in its Ariane 64 configuration (with four boosters).
The operation took place within the framework of the combined tests intended to check the compatibility between the launcher and the launch pad, during a dress rehearsal representative of a launch chronology.
It was preceded by “dry” functional tests (Dry Run), which made it possible to power up all the avionics chains of the launcher, and to achieve a stable and reproducible configuration, which authorizes the start of the final synchronized sequence.
Vulcain 2.1 ignition to follow
The next step, July 12 on the launch pad, will be the filling of the main stage with propellant LLPM (Lower Liquid Propulsion Module) and upper stage UPLM (Upper Liquid Propulsion Module), then engine ignition Vulcan 2.1for 4 seconds.
A test “essential to minimize the risk of hazard during the final launch sequence”, recalls on its LinkedIn page Philip the Baptistthe president of CNESwhich sums up the whole challenge of the combined tests: “Qualify, step by step, all the functions and operations leading up to takeoff: it’s a ballet rigorously orchestrated and led by the teams ofArianeGroup from Cnes andEuropean Space Agency “.