On 5 September 2023, teams from France’s space agency CNES and Arianegroup under the lead of ESA carried out a complete Ariane 6 launch sequence on its launch pad at Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. The test ended with a hot-fire of the launcher’s core stage and startup of the Vulcain 2.1 engine.
This is a key step in the test campaign. It follows from initial integration of the Ariane 6 launcher on its launch pad, electrical and fluid system tests and the first launch sequence test run on 18 July 2023.
This test involved a launch sequence and final countdown representative of a launch, including removal of the Ariane 6 mobile gantry and filling the launcher’s upper and core stage tanks with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The test ended with the ignition and the startup of the core stage’s Vulcain 2.1 engine, followed by four seconds of firing.
The next milestone is to complete a core stage long hot-fire test, where the Vulcain 2.1 engine will operate for about 8 minutes.
Ariane 6 is an all-new design, created to succeed Ariane 5 as Europe’s heavy-lift launch system. With Ariane 6’s upper stage and its reignitable Vinci engine, Europe’s launch capability will be tailored to the needs of multiple payloads, for example to orbit satellite constellations. This autonomous capability to reach Earth orbit and deep space supports Europe’s navigation, Earth observation, scientific and security programmes. Ongoing development of Europe’s space transportation capabilities is made possible by the sustained dedication of thousands of talented people working in ESA’s 22 Member States.