Ariane 6 central core set for assembly

Adapted from the ESA’s Enabling & Support page.

The lower stage of ESA’s next-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle has been installed on the assembly line at Europe’s Spaceport behind the upper stage. It is now time to join the two horizontally to create the central core of Ariane 6 in readiness for the first combined tests on the launch pad.

The arrival from Europe of Ariane 6’s central core in French Guiana is a major milestone and an exciting step forward in the path to first flight as it allows combined tests to start. From arrival to hot-firing tests on the launch pad, operational procedures will mimic an Ariane 6 launch campaign.

The lower stage is from ArianeGroup’s Les Mureaux site in France. Fitted with an additional two or four solid rocket boosters it is designed to power Ariane 6 in the first phase of flight, delivering about 135 tonnes of thrust in vacuum. The core stage is powered by the liquid-fuelled Vulcain 2.1 – an upgraded engine derived from Ariane 5’s Vulcain 2.

The Ariane 6 upper stage, built in ArianeGroup’s Bremen factory in Germany, allows Ariane 6 to reach a range of orbits on a single mission to deliver more payloads.

These two stages arrived by boat in French Guiana on 17 January 2022.

The upcoming tests verify all the interfaces and functions between the Ariane 6 launch vehicle and ground facilities of the new Ariane 6 launch complex at the spaceport. Reaching this phase of activities is the result of intense preparation by ESA and its partners in Europe and at Europe’s Spaceport.

Ariane 6 central core set for assembly
— First Ariane 6 lower stage to enter the new assembly building at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana

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