France’s CNES spage agency, Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed contract amendments covering full-scale development of Ariane 6 and the new ELA4 launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre (GSC). CNES has responsibility for developing ground support equipment at the CSG and as such is in charge of building ELA4. ASL is prime contractor and design authority for the launch vehicle.
For ASL, the amendment confirms commitment of the €1.7 billion required to continue development, and then production and operation of the two versions of the Ariane 6 launcher, Ariane 62 and 64. The agreement signed in August 2015 covered the initial development (phases A and B) through to the preliminary design review (PDR) in mid-2016.
The contract signed by ESA and CNES on 12 August 2015 covered all work required to complete ELA4 up to delivery to ESA in June 2019. However, ESA had made funding commitments to CNES conditional on the decisions that would be reached at the Programme Implementation Review (PIR) this July. This review confirmed the pursuit of the programme and all of the contracts have thus been firmed up.
Work will continue into 2018, after which a technical qualification phase of approximately nine months will begin. Handover of the facilities to ESA is scheduled in the second half of 2019 to begin combined tests with the launcher. Ariane 6’s first flight is planned in 2020.