Ariane 6 cryo-arms mimic lift-off
(14 Apr 2022) Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana is preparing for the arrival of Ariane 6, ESA's new heavy-lift rocket. The latest round of testing aims to validate the system of fuel lines and mechanical supporting arms that will keep Ariane 6 topped up with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the critical moments before lift-off. This work is part of the final preparations of the new Ariane 6 launch complex and all the systems necessary for a launch.
With the mobile gantry fully retracted – as for a launch – two articulated arms attached to the upper part of the Ariane 6 mast on the launch pad were separated and retracted while filled with hydrogen that is cooled to its liquid state at cryogenic temperatures. This manoeuvre mimics the seconds before lift-off.
The disconnection of the cryo-arms from Ariane 6 is much faster than it is from Ariane 5, where the manoeuvre comes six seconds before lift-off. This means the sequence for Ariane 6 can be triggered at the latest possible moment in the countdown, reducing the chance of unnecessary disconnects in the event of an aborted launch.
Technical qualification tests are continuing. The objective now is to complete the qualification process of the hydrogen and oxygen filling lines and launcher interfaces for the lower, core stage.
Reference: ESA PR