The first cry of Ariane 6 in Guyana

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Every weekend, an image that made the news or caught our attention. On September 5, the first stage of a complete Ariane 6 launcher was (briefly) fired, for the first time at the Guiana Space Center.

Operations halted in July

On September 5 at 6:55 p.m. (local time), i.e. only four days after the bench firing carried out in Germany with the ULPM (Upper Liquid Propulsion Module) upper stage of the future European launcher, it was the Guyanese teams ofArianeGroupof Cnes and theEuropean Space Agency who conducted a crucial new trial, as part of the combined tests ofAriadne 6.

These are intended to validate compatibility with the launch facilities of the Guiana Space Center (CSG), near Kourou, in particular Launch Complex No. 4 (ELA4) and the Launch Zone (ZL4) dedicated, through electrical and fluid functional tests.

On July 18, a first complete and representative simulation of the launch sequence took place, called CTLO 1 (CTLO Combined Test Loading 1), which followed an aborted attempt on July 13 following the discovery of a leak on a flexible hydrogen supply.

The simulation included the filling of the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks of the two stages of the launcher, as well as the removal of the mobile gantry.

But the timeline had been stopped again, this time before the ignition of the engine chamber. Vulcan 2.1 which equips the first floor LLPM (Lower Liquid Propulsion Module), due to the length of the tests, which led to… a shortage of liquid oxygen, as specified in an ESA press release posted online on August 29.

8 minute goal

On September 5, no incident occurred to spoil the party, and the “short hot firing test” sequence was finally able to take place until the ignition of the engine, which gave voice for 4 seconds, i.e. until its operation stabilizes.

The next test is scheduled for October 3 at CSG.

This time it will have to last 470 seconds, i.e. the entire flight phase of the main stage of Ariane 6.

This will allow the latter to be declared fit for flight.

“Our objective is to divide the time between two flights by three compared to Ariane 5 (which bowed out last July), an essential element for the ramp-up of Ariane 6, serving Arianespace customers” , has recalled Martin SionExecutive Chairman of ArianeGroup.

John Walker Avatar