Finally good news for Europe’s launchers

Avatar photo

In a rather dark period for European launchers, two significant advances in Guyana and Vernon have helped to boost the morale of the troops.

On the side of the Ariane 6 combined tests

A change in the order of the combined tests carried out at the Guiana Space Center on the future European heavy launcher Ariane 6 was announced on October 19 by the Task Forcewhich brings together theEuropean Space Agency, ArianeGroup, Arianespace and the Cnes : a 36-hour general rehearsal finally had to precede the long-duration engine ignition test Vulcan 2.1.

These two operations were not correlated, and the postponement of the first should make it possible to repair the anomaly detected on October 3 on the hydraulic group of the main stage of the launcher.

The essay says CTLO 2.1 therefore took place on October 23 and 24 on the Ariane 6 launch pad.

The simulated launch sequence included filling the launcher propellants, incorporated failure cases, and ran up to partial ignition of the Vulcan.

The long-term fire test HFT (Hot Fire Test) could take place on November 23.

It should last 470 seconds (nearly 8 minutes).

On the side of the engines of the future

Furthermore, ArianeGroup continues its tests on methalox engine demonstrators Prometheus and reusable floor Themiscarried out on behalf of theESA.

On October 20, a new ignition of the Prometheus engine was carried out in Vernon, in Eure.

It lasted 30 seconds, followed by a restart of the prototype.

This was the third firing of Prometheus, after those of June 22 and September 23.

So much good news in a particularly difficult context for European launchers, which will be on the agenda of the Advice informal meeting of the ESA at ministerial level, on November 6 at Sevillein Spain.

The subjects are tense and potentially dramatic: financing the development of Ariane 6 and the release of the launchers Vega from the fold of Arianespace for the benefit of their Italian manufacturer Avio.

John Walker Avatar