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Early combined tests mimic Ariane 6 liftoff

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06/04/2021
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Ariane 6 early mixed assessments at Latesys in Fos-sur-Mer, in France, have simulated the second of liftoff when the umbilicals separate from the launch automobile.

These assessments are a part of the vital path in the direction of the primary flight of Europe’s new Ariane 6 launch automobile. They validate the interfaces and mechanical behaviour throughout separation of this complicated cryogenic connection system. Extra intensive mixed assessments can be carried out at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana which is able to embody the fluidic provides.

The cryogenic connection system sustains the launch automobile on the launch pad throughout the countdown to launch.

Test prove quick retraction of cryo-arms at liftoff

Umbilicals supported by ‘cryo-arms’ on the primary mast, provide Ariane 6 with top-up gas, keep the proper pressurisation of Ariane 6’s tanks, cool the engines earlier than ignition and usually maintain the launch automobile in an optimum situation proper as much as the purpose of liftoff. The identical umbilicals enable the gas to be drained safely if a launch is aborted.

“For the time being of liftoff, it’s paramount that the connections between launch automobile and launch base are disconnected and pulled away shortly and safely,” defined Luis Escudero, ESA’s Core Future Launch Preparation Programme Supervisor.  

“Pyrotechnic actuators detonate to burst hinges open permitting the umbilicals to securely separate from Ariane 6. The supporting cryo-arms that maintain the higher umbilicals then transfer out horizontally away from the launch automobile. A 50-tonne counterweight contained in the mast – as heavy as a humpback whale – hurries up this manoeuvre.

Mini-masts protect Ariane 6 lower-stage umbilicals

“On the identical time, metal doorways slam shut on the mini-masts on the base of Ariane 6 on the launch pad to defend the connectors from the rocket exhaust.

“This all occurs in break up seconds in a extremely exact, synchronised sequence.”

The launch base design is improved for Ariane 6. The disconnect time is now sooner than it’s for Ariane 5. This implies the sequence will be triggered on the newest doable second within the countdown decreasing the prospect of pointless disconnects on an aborted launch.

Counter weight helps to retract cryo-arms

Over the previous couple of months, Latesys below CNES accountability and with the help of ArianeGroup, have carried out assessments to validate the disconnection and retraction capabilities of the launch pad mechanical methods and the mounts between launch base and rocket, and verified mechanical hundreds.

These assessments concerned the cryo-arms which hook up with the Ariane 6 higher stage; mini-masts fastened to the launch desk related by umbilicals to the decrease stage; and different Ariane 6 connections.

ESA has overseen these assessments and analysed the outcomes to confirm and validate the cryogenic connection system.

Following these assessments, the elements have been dismantled and can be shipped to Kourou for integration on the launch pad. Right here they are going to be reassembled and additional examined together with the cryogenic methods that can provide liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to the launch automobile.

Mini-mast installation on the Ariane 6 launch pad

A launch base technical qualification adopted by mixed assessments on the Spaceport lasting a number of months will put together for the launch system technical qualification and debut flight of Ariane 6.

“These assessments have been an important hyperlink in a sequence of check campaigns that transfer us ahead to additional mixed assessments in French Guiana. This can be a very constructive step ahead for Ariane 6,” commented Pier Domenico Resta, ESA’s Ariane 6 Launch System Engineering Supervisor.


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