ESA selects payloads for Ariane 6 first flight

(13 Feb 2022) ESA in close collaboration with ArianeGroup and Arianespace has selected payloads which best fit the profile of the first mission of its new generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

This selection follows ESA's announcement of opportunity in November 2021, which offered a launch to low Earth orbit for experiments up to a total mass of 80 kg and release of payloads with a combined mass of up to 800 kg. They will be hosted on a 'mass dummy' featuring a large platform, inside the 14 m long version of the fairing on an Ariane 6 fitted with two strap-on boosters (A62 version).

For this flight, ESA is responsible for operations from the launch campaign to the payload separation, and then disposal of the upper stage through burn-up during reentry.

Four experiments, ranging in mass from 0.15–12 kg, will be fixed to the platform on top of the mass dummy. These experiments will return valuable data up to the end of the mission when the upper stage reenters Earth's atmosphere.

Two deployers will be arranged on board and will accommodate CubeSats. The RAMI deployer is built by Spain's UARX Space, and the ExoPOD is built by Exolaunch in Germany.

With some spaces for CubeSats still available, ESA may add to this collection closer to launch.

Reference: ESA PR

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