The future European heavy launcher program has just reached a new decisive stage.
A long-awaited first test
The future European heavy-lift launcher program Ariane 6 passed a new decisive milestone on October 5 : Teams from ArianeGroup, the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center (DLR - Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) conducted the - long-awaited - first fire test of the ULPM cryogenic upper stage (Upper Liquid Propulsion Module), equipped with its Vinci reignitable engine and a APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) power generator.
The operation was successfully completed on the P5.2 test bench, specially built for Ariane 6 development in Lampoldshausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Inaugurated in February 2019, the complex has obviously been more complicated to get up and running than expected, including falling victim to flooding in late August.
The ULPM (assembled at ArianeGroup's site in Bremen, Germany) will still have to undergo up to three more fire tests to be qualified for flight.
Perpetuating the success of Ariane 5
" These upper stage fire tests are being conducted in parallel with the combined launcher and launch pad tests (performed by Cnes) currently underway at the Guyana Space Center under the supervision of the European Space Agency, recalled André-Hubert Roussel, ArianeGroup's executive chairman.
Thanks to the union of our strengths and our exceptional teams, we will achieve technical excellence and perpetuate the success enjoyed for many years by Ariane 5, the predecessor of Ariane 6.
We are working tirelessly to ensure a successful first flight and ramp-up of Ariane 6, to meet the expectations of Arianespace's prestigious European institutional customers and its commercial customers around the world on time. "
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