ESA and Arianespace specialists successfully fired the Ariane 6 rocket. This is an important step towards putting a new carrier into operation.
The firing of Ariane 6 took place on November 23 at the Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana. It was carried out as part of a full-scale rehearsal of the Ariane 6 launch. The engineers conducted a full countdown, after which the Vulcain 2.1 engine installed on the first stage of the rocket was activated.
In total, the engine of the first stage of the Ariane 6 worked for seven minutes. During this time, it burned 150 tons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Despite the fact that the full results of the firing will be published no earlier than November 30, experts are already talking about it as successful.
The Ariane 6 rocket is to replace the Ariane 5, which has been ESA’s main workhorse for the past two decades. It will be produced in two main versions, Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 equipped, respectively, with two and four solid-fuel boosters. Ariane 62 will be able to carry up to 10.3 tons of cargo to low Earth orbit (LEO) and up to 5 tons to geostationary orbit, Ariane 64 — up to 21.6 tons to LEO and up to 11.5 tons to geostationary orbit.
Initially, the debut of Ariane 6 was supposed to take place back in 2022. It was assumed that for some time it would be operated in conjunction with Ariane 5. However, difficulties with the manufacture of various rocket components and the consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led to the fact that the date of the first flight of the new rocket was repeatedly shifted.
Because of this, ESA found itself in a rather unpleasant situation when the operation of the Ariane 5 had already been discontinued, and its replacement was not ready to fly yet. As a result, Europe had to transfer a number of its cargo to SpaceX. So far, the ESA does not name the exact date of the first flight of the Ariane 6. It is only known that it should take place in 2024.
According to https://www.esa.int
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