Success of a crucial test of Ariane 6 before the first flight

2023-11-23 23:37:19

The European Ariane 6 rocket successfully underwent a “large-scale” general rehearsal on Thursday in Kourou, Guyana, with a view to its first flight planned for 2024. The firing of the Vulcain 2.1 engine of the main stage of the launcher worked satisfactorily.

The ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 engine, which lasted approximately eight minutes, “made it possible to validate the entire flight phase of the main stage of Ariane 6 by simulating a complete launch timeline,” ArianeGroup said. the manufacturer of Ariane 6, in a press release following the test.

“The teams have now completed each stage of the launcher’s flight without it leaving Earth,” said Josef Aschbacher, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), of which Switzerland is a member. This step, presented as crucial, “brings us a little closer to the inaugural flight of Ariane 6,” said the executive president of ArianeGroup, Martin Sion.

Tests analyzed

Additional tests remain to be carried out before the first flight, in particular to “demonstrate tolerance to cases of failure”, he specified.

However, the full results of Thursday’s test will not be communicated before November 30, after analysis of all the parameters. “The fundamental question will be to say whether we need to repeat the test,” Domenico Resta, head of engineering for the Ariane 6 launch system at ESA, explained to AFP.

The firing of the Vulcain 2.1 engine started around 9:30 p.m. Swiss time, a few minutes behind schedule due to a “slight” anomaly, which was corrected by the teams on site, said the ESA. .

Considered a major step in the Ariane 6 qualification campaign, the success of this test determines the setting of a date for the inaugural launch of the launcher, scheduled for 2024.

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The test was initially scheduled for October 3, but had to be postponed after the detection of an anomaly on the hydraulic circuit of the system which controls the orientation of the main stage engine nozzle.

Initially planned for 2020, the first flight of Ariane 6, designed to face competition from the private American launcher SpaceX, has been postponed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and development difficulties.

This article was automatically published. Sources: ats / afp

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