At the end of each week, an image makes the news or catches our attention. On June 22, the gantry housing a functional mock-up of Ariane 6 for combined testing in French Guiana was removed for the first time.
Preliminary functional tests
On June 22, on the ELA4 (Ensemble de Lancement Ariane n°4) at the Centre spatial guyanais, the gigantic mobile gantry of Ariane 6 (89 m high and weighing 8 200 t), which houses the complete CTM (Combined Test Model) functional mock-up of Europe's new heavy launcher, has been moved back.
This is the first time Ariane 6 has been in the open air on ZL4 (Launch Zone No. 4), in its Ariane 64 configuration (with four boosters).
The operation was part of the combined tests designed to verify compatibility between the launcher and the launch pad, on the occasion of a dress rehearsal representative of a launch chronology.
It was preceded by " dry " functional tests (Dry Run), which enabled all the launcher's avionics chains to be energized, and a stable, reproducible configuration to be reached, authorizing engagement of the final synchronized sequence.
Ignition of Vulcain 2.1 to follow
The next step, on July 12 on the launch pad, will be to fill the main stage LLPM (Lower Liquid Propulsion Module) and the upper stage UPLM (Upper Liquid Propulsion Module) with propellants, followed by ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 engine, lasting 4 seconds.
A test " essential to minimize the risk of hazards during the final launch sequence ", reminds Philippe Baptiste, president of Cnes, on his LinkedIn page, who sums up the whole challenge of the combined tests : " Qualifying, step by step, all the functions and operations leading up to liftoff : this is a rigorously orchestrated ballet conducted by ArianeGroup teams from Cnes and the European Space Agency ".
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