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Ariane 6 Upper Part Moves to Launch Pad for First Flight

Ariane 6 task force
Ariane 6 Task Force. Credit: ESA, Dr Josef Aschbacher

Ibadan, 18 June 2024. – The European Space Agency (ESA) has transferred Ariane 6’s upper composite with the payloads it will launch to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The upper part of the rocket journeyed from the encapsulation hall in Europe’s Spaceport to the launch pad in the morning and placed on top of the rocket. The rocket’s fairing includes hardware from experiments, deployers, satellites and reentry capsules.

Ariane 6 is on schedule to launch on July 9, taking with it many space missions, which are being supplied by space agencies, commercial companies, research institutes, universities and young professionals. Ariane 6’s first flight also aims to showcase the versatility and flexibility of this impressive, heavy-lift launcher.

The new heavy-lift rocket’s design allows it to provide great power and flexibility at a lower cost than its predecessors. Furthermore, the launcher’s configuration – with an upgraded main stage, a choice of either two or four powerful boosters and a new restartable upper stage – will provide Europe with greater efficiency and possibility as it can launch multiple missions into different orbits on a single flight, while its upper stage will deorbit itself at the end of mission.

For Ariane 6’s development, ESA serves as the Launch System Architect working with prime contractor ArianeGroup to develop the launch vehicle and with CNES to develop the ground segment. Furthermore, ESA is responsible for the inaugural flight while Arianespace will market and operate the launcher for institutional and commercial customers for subsequent flights.

After checking the milestone of transferring the upper composite, by June 30, the Ariane 6 launch system will receive approval to close all aspects of its qualification after completing the final step of the launch system qualification.

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