January 31, 2024

Ariane 6 joint update report | 31/01/2024

The Ariane 6 Launcher Task Force consists of top management of ESA, as the overall Ariane 6 procuring entity and launch system architect, of the French space agency CNES, as the launch base prime contractor, of ArianeGroup as the launcher system prime contractor and of Arianespace as the launch service provider. This group reports regularly on progress being made towards inaugural flight of the new Ariane 6 launcher.

Ariane 6 - Essai de déconnexion et de rétractation des systèmes cryogéniques le 30/01/2024 au CSG. Credits: ©ESA/CNES/Arianespace/ArianeGroup/Optique Vidéo CSG/P Piron, 2024

Key milestones towards inaugural flight:

The combined test phase using propellants is over. There is no need for additional tests on the Ariane 6 flight model. We are on track for inaugural launch. 

On the way towards the first flight of Ariane 6, these milestones have been conducted since the last joint update:

30 January 2024: Fuel line and umbilical disconnections, Kourou, French Guiana

Teams successfully completed  the disconnection and retraction of the cryogenic systems.

These operations are needed to start dismantling the test model and make way for Flight Model 1.

HFT-4 Upper stage firing test report, Lampoldshausen, Germany

Technical investigations are still ongoing concerning the test abort that occurred after two minutes of the upper stage hot-fire test on the Vinci engine (HFT-4) that was performed on 7 December 2023.

Based on the results of the analysis performed, we can confirm that the launch period for the Ariane 6 inaugural flight is unchanged.

Next milestones:

Combined test campaign

The combined test campaign will continue with dismantling operations. This will validate the ability to disassemble the launcher in case anomalies would require a change of a stage of the rocket on the launch pad. These operations include:

  • Combined Tests Launcher Dismounting (CTLD) that is required for the launch pad preparation for the Inaugural Flight campaign;
  • Dummy Payload Dismounting Test that will be executed in the Hall d’Encapsulation (HE) that is part of the Batiment Assemblage Final (BAF).

February: Departure of first flight elements to French Guiana

The stages for the first Ariane 6 flight will leave Europe and arrive by Canopée ship in French Guiana in February.

First flight period

ESA, CNES and ArianeGroup are targeting the first launch of Ariane 6 between 15 June and 31 July 2024.

Ariane 6 is an all-new design, created to succeed Ariane 5 as Europe's heavy-lift launch system. With Ariane 6's upper stage restart capability, Europe's launch capability will be tailored to the needs of multiple payload missions, for example to orbit satellite constellations. This autonomous capability to reach Earth orbit and deep space supports Europe's navigation, Earth observation, scientific and security programmes. Ongoing development of Europe's space transportation capabilities is made possible by the sustained dedication of thousands of talented people working in ESA's 22 Member States.

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