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Arianespace scrubs October 3 test

September 24, 2023

By Chris Forrester

The European Space Agency (ESA) says that a September test firing of the Ariane 6’s powerful engine went well. However, ESA’s DG Josef Aschbacher says the agency has cancelled a planned October follow-on test because of an “anomaly”.

“Ariane 6 task force update: great data and results from the hot-fire September tests for #Ariane6 both in French Guiana and Germany. However, an anomaly was detected in the thrust control vector hydraulics when preparing for the next test and the long-duration hot firing test will no longer take place on 3 October as teams investigate the causes. We will come back to you with more updates when available,” said Aschbacher.

ESA says that a September 1st test firing showed “excellent results”. “The test of the stage included more than 11 minutes (680 seconds) of operation of the Vinci re-ignitable engine in two boosts, including two boosts of the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) in parallel with the operation of the Vinci engine. Analysis showed a very good operation of the two engines at the same time – which plays an essential role in the versatility and restarting capability of the Ariane 6 upper stage.”

Tests that took place on September 5th in French Guiana (“a full wet dress rehearsal”) was succesfuly completed.

“The Vulcain 2.1 engine was ignited and fired for four seconds before being shut down by the on-board software as planned. This test made it possible to validate the sequence of checks carried out before the solid booster ignition and a liftoff of Ariane 6. This test was a major milestone in the combined tests campaign. It contributes to qualification of the launch sequence operations and engine ignition on the launch pad, and to qualification of the launcher. The test demonstrated the excellent maturity of the operational organisation and means,” said ESA.

Further tests are scheduled for the rocket in French Guiana as well as a hot test firing of the rocket’s engine at Lampoldshausen in Germany. But not a test on October 3rd until the anomaly is corrected.

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