The sixth firing test of Ariane 5’s EAP booster was successfully conducted on the BEAP solid booster test stand at Guiana Space Centre—Europe’s space port in Kourou—under the aegis of CNES’s Launcher Directorate and as part of the European Space Agency’s Launchers Exploitation Accompaniment Programme (LEAP).
The main purpose of the test — the first since 2012 — was to maintain the qualification status of Ariane 5’s EAP solid booster and ensure ongoing reliability of the Ariane 5 launcher.
It is part of ESA’s Launchers Exploitation Accompaniment Programme (LEAP), formerly known as the Ariane Research and Technology Accompaniment programme (ARTA), whose overarching objective is to test specimen articles manufactured for use on the Ariane 5 launcher.
Thanks to its high level of instrumentation, the test should help in the understanding and resolution of deviations and anomalies, the validation of behaviour models, the anticipation of obsolescence and the evaluation of certain new technologies.
The innovations tested on this version include new carbon fibres used in the manufacture of certain motor parts, new types of grease to replace boric acid as per environmental regulations, and the use of stainless steel in place of hexavalent chromium, again in accordance with environmental regulations. A second supply source of the aluminium powder used to make the motor’s propellant and created to ensure its production, also underwent qualification testing.
The test campaign began on 27th July and will end mid-October.