ESA performed the firing of the upper stage of Ariane 6

The European Space Agency (ESA) has fired the upper stage of the Ariane 6 rocket. In the near future, the organization plans to conduct a similar test of its first stage.

The firing took place on September 1. It was held on the territory of the test center in Lampoldshausen, Germany. The main purpose of the test was to check the Vinci engine installed on the upper stage of the Ariane 6. It has the ability to repeatedly turn on and off in space, which will allow satellites to be placed in different orbits, and then reduce the spent stage.

The auxiliary power unit (APU) was also tested. It provides the possibility of restarting Vinci in space, maintaining sufficient pressure in the fuel tanks and preventing the formation of bubbles in the fuel lines. The power plant uses a small amount of liquid hydrogen and oxygen from the main tanks, replacing a system that relied on large volumes of helium in cylinders.

The firing of the upper stage of the Ariane 6 was a success. Now ESA is going to concentrate all efforts on the first stage. In the near future, it will undergo a series of fire tests. For the first time, its engines will be activated for four seconds. It will be followed by a full-fledged 470-second test simulating the launch of Ariane 6. This test is scheduled for October 3. ESA also plans to conduct another additional fire test of the upper stage to test its behavior under different flight conditions.

After that, ESA will set a date for the first launch of Ariane 6. In a recent interview, the head of the organization, Josef Aschbacher, refused to mention its possible dates, but expressed hope that the debut of the new rocket would take place “not too late” in 2024.

Earlier we talked about how ESA was struggling with the shortage of launch vehicles.

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