The construction site of the future launch pad for the European heavy launch vehicle witnessed a first simulation of a launch operation.
At the Guiana Space Centre — on the construction site of the launch pad ELA 4 (Ensemble de lancement n°4 - Launch Area n°4) — the mobile gantry which will shelter the future launcher Ariane 6 before its launch, performed its first rollout test on July 21 — the same month Ariane 6 engine ended the qualification tests. . It travelled 97 meters at a speed of 6.7 meters per minute.
The gantry’s metallic structure, 90 meters high, is stands on 16 bogies equipped with 8 drive wheels, each one powered by an electric motor.
The whole structure weighs 5,600 t and will reach 8,200 t once fully equipped. 1,000 t more than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
During a real launch campaign, the mobile gantry will be retracted 5 hours before the lift-off.
“One small move for the gantry, one giant leap for #ariane6. Bravo @CNES @eiffage !”, commented on Twitter Jean-Marc Astorg, Director of launchers at CNES.