Early combined tests mimic Ariane 6 liftoff

Enabling & Support


Ariane 6 early combined tests at Latesys in Fos-sur-Mer, in France, have simulated the second of liftoff when the umbilicals separate from the launch car.

These tests are a part of the important path in direction of the primary flight of Europe’s new Ariane 6 launch car. They validate the interfaces and mechanical behaviour throughout separation of this complicated cryogenic connection system. More in depth combined tests will likely be carried out at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana which is able to embody the fluidic provides.The cryogenic connection system sustains the launch car on the launch pad through the countdown to launch.

Test show fast retraction of cryo-arms at liftoff
Umbilicals supported by ‘cryo-arms’ on the primary mast, provide Ariane 6 with top-up gas, preserve the proper pressurisation of Ariane 6’s tanks, cool the engines earlier than ignition and usually maintain the launch car in an optimum situation proper as much as the purpose of liftoff. The similar umbilicals permit the gas to be drained safely if a launch is aborted.“At the moment of liftoff, it is paramount that the connections between launch vehicle and launch base are disconnected and pulled away quickly and safely,” defined Luis Escudero, ESA’s Core Future Launchers Preparatory Programme Manager.  “Pyrotechnic actuators detonate to burst hinges open permitting the umbilicals to securely separate from Ariane 6. The supporting cryo-arms that maintain the higher umbilicals then transfer out horizontally away from the launch car. A 50-tonne counterweight contained in the mast – as heavy as a humpback whale – hurries up this manoeuvre.

Mini-masts shield Ariane 6 lower-stage umbilicals
“At the same time, steel doors slam shut on the mini-masts at the base of Ariane 6 on the launch pad to shield the connectors from the rocket exhaust.“This all happens in split seconds in a highly precise, synchronised sequence.”The launch base design is improved for Ariane 6. The disconnect time is now sooner than it’s for Ariane 5. This means the sequence might be triggered on the newest doable second within the countdown decreasing the possibility of pointless disconnects on an aborted launch.

Counter weight helps to retract cryo-arms
Over the previous few months, Latesys underneath CNES accountability and with the assist of ArianeGroup, have carried out tests to validate the disconnection and retraction capabilities of the launch pad mechanical techniques and the mounts between launch base and rocket, and verified mechanical hundreds.These tests concerned the cryo-arms which hook up with the Ariane 6 higher stage; mini-masts mounted to the launch desk related by umbilicals to the decrease stage; and different Ariane 6 connections.ESA has overseen these tests and analysed the outcomes to confirm and validate the cryogenic connection system.Following these tests, the elements have been dismantled and will likely be shipped to Kourou for integration on the launch pad. Here they are going to be reassembled and additional examined together with the cryogenic techniques that may provide liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to the launch car.

Mini-mast set up on the Ariane 6 launch pad
A launch base technical qualification adopted by combined tests on the Spaceport lasting a number of months will put together for the launch system technical qualification and debut flight of Ariane 6.“These tests were a vital link in a chain of test campaigns that move us forward to further combined tests in French Guiana. This is a very positive step forward for Ariane 6,” commented Pier Domenico Resta, ESA’s Ariane 6 Launch System Engineering Manager.

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