ESA lays out roadmap to Vega-C and Ariane 6 flights

Enabling & Support


Vega-C and Ariane 6 are being developed by ESA to guarantee Europe’s impartial entry to house. The maiden flight for Vega-C is deliberate to happen in June 2021, that for Ariane 6 for the second quarter of 2022.

Solid progress is being made on each Vega-C and Ariane 6 improvement programmes. Since March, some technical occasions and the COVID-19 pandemic have each impacted the progress of actions. Uncertainty from COVID-19 nonetheless persists globally to date.


Artist’s view of Vega-C on the launch pad
Vega-C is a extra highly effective and versatile model of the Vega launch car at the moment working at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Vega-C’s maiden flight is deliberate for  June 2021.Vega was on observe for its return to flight, after the July 2019 failure, with its mission (VV16) in March 2020, however Europe’s Spaceport had to be closed due to COVID-19 security measures. The VV16 launch marketing campaign resumed in May however a number of additional launch makes an attempt have been halted due to unfavourable climate. Vega’s return to flight, with the brand new SSMS dispenser carrying 53 satellites, was efficiently launched on 2 September.Between February and September no actions for the preparation of Vega-C have been doable within the Vega cellular gantry whereas it housed the P80 stable rocket motor in readiness for flight VV16, due to security constraints.The qualification at system and subsystems stage is at the moment underneath finalisation.

P120C motor scorching firing
As from October, all the brand new stable motors for Vega-C have accomplished qualification testing. The Zefiro-40 stable rocket motor for Vega-C accomplished qualification exams in 2019. The closing check of the P120C passed off efficiently on 7 October.Two Vega flights, VV17 and VV18, are deliberate earlier than Vega-C. Activities for the modification of the cellular gantry for Vega-C, comparable to modifications of the fluids networks in addition to connection and set up of the brand new management bench for Vega-C, can have to begin after VV18 now deliberate early February.  Vega-C maiden flight is deliberate for June 2021.Vega-C is a venture managed and funded by the European Space Agency. Avio is the economic prime contractor. Arianespace commercialises Vega-C.

Ariane 6

Ariane 6 utilizing 4 P120C boosters
ESA, CNES and ArianeGroup have collectively established a consolidated reference planning for Ariane 6 improvement and are working as an built-in workforce of their respective roles to make it occur. This schedule relies on evaluation of current achievements, remaining important milestones and the influence on the programme attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.With the profitable third static hearth check of the P120C stable rocket motor on 7 October, all of the propulsion parts of the launcher system have accomplished their qualification exams.

Booster and core stage mockups inside cellular gantry
At Europe’s Spaceport, actions for the finalisation of the Ariane 6 launch base are progressing. First integration testing with fullscale ‘mock-ups’ of the P120C strap-on booster and of Ariane 6’s central core passed off within the new cellular gantry. Testing of the cryogenic arms that hyperlink the launch pad and the launch car are additionally ongoing at Fos-sur-Mer in France, earlier than delivery to French Guiana.ArianeGroup is finishing the difficult improvement and qualification of the Ariane 6 Auxiliary Power Unit for the higher stage. This machine will enable Europe to provide further capabilities in satellite tv for pc deployment for the satellite tv for pc constellation market.

P5.2 check facility simulates launch for Ariane 6 higher stage
The first Ariane 6 higher stage has been assembled in Bremen, Germany. Coupling the launcher’s tanks with the geared up engine bay of the re-ignitable Vinci engine for the primary time. The higher stage is at the moment present process mechanical, fluid and electrical exams, earlier than leaving for additional exams on the DLR German Aerospace Center’s Lampoldshausen services in Germany.There, the whole stage can be scorching hearth examined on a brand new check bench specifically developed by DLR for the Ariane 6 higher stage. The Ariane 6 higher stage static hearth exams are deliberate to begin within the second quarter of 2021.

Ariane 6 core stage mockup within the meeting constructing at Europe’s Spaceport
In parallel, the primary Ariane 6 core stage and the second Ariane 6 higher stage are underneath preparation. These specimen can be shipped to Europe’s Spaceport from Les Mureaux (France) and Bremen (Germany) respectively, for the mixed exams marketing campaign.  In the third quarter of 2021, the Ariane 6 launch base can be handed over from CNES to ESA. At this level the Ariane 6 mixed exams marketing campaign can begin. These collection of exams will carry the launch car and launch base collectively for the primary time for built-in exams of a number of methods. This will embody a static hearth check of Ariane 6 whereas standing on the launch pad for the primary time.

Practising integration on the launch pad
Following the profitable mixed check marketing campaign and Ground qualification evaluation of the launch system, the primary launch marketing campaign, with the mixing of the maiden flight {hardware}, will begin.When all these steps are efficiently accomplished Ariane 6 can be able to carry out its maiden flight within the second quarter of 2022.Ariane 6 is a venture managed and funded by the European Space Agency. ArianeGroup is design authority and industrial prime contractor for the launcher system. The French house company CNES is prime contractor for the event of the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Arianespace commercialises Ariane 6.

Impact of COVID-19

The measures taken to management the pandemic have critically impacted the progress of actions each in Europe and at Europe’s Spaceport since March 2020, together with on account of social distancing, web site lockdowns and lowered capability at services, journey restrictions, quarantines and confinement measures.This has significantly slowed all working and operational processes for prime contractors and their respective subcontractors round 13 European nations. Ongoing pandemic results proceed to disrupt on-going improvement and operations.“We constantly and closely monitor the COVID-19 impact and technical challenges on our ongoing space transportation developments and operations. Together with our contractual partners and participating States, ESA continues to pull together towards our common priority goals which are the maiden flights of Vega-C and Ariane 6,” commented Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at ESA.

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