The first launch of the Ariane 6 rocket will not take place before the ” second half of 2021 »Due to delays caused by the coronavirus epidemic, we learned from the European Space Agency (ESA).
The initially planned timeframe for a shot before the end of the year is no longer tenable, said Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s director of European space transport, during a meeting with the Association of Professional Journalists of the ESA. aeronautics and space (AJPAE), according to an ESA official.
The launch pad dedicated to the future launcher in Kourou (Guyana), under the aegis of the French space agency CNES, was interrupted from mid-March to mid-May before resuming with the constraints imposed by sanitary measures. The more so as the virus continues to circulate actively in Guyana.
The inaugural shooting should take place ” rather on the second part of 2021. I think that reasonably, it will not be until July “Said André-Hubert Roussel, executive president of ArianeGroup, to AFP. Before the first flight, ArianeGroup must still carry out several tests.
The Vulcain flight copy of the main stage of the rocket ” should be tested by the end of July In Vernon (west of France). Another test, firing the upper stage of the rocket, must also take place.
The test bench is ready, the floor will go to Lampoldshausen (Germany) during the summer. ” We are going to do all the tests on the ground of re-ignition of the (engine) Vinci, of filling the tanks, of what we can do on the ground (which is) representative of what will happen when it will be in orbit “, He explained.
Then the “ combined tests Between the complete rocket and its launch pad, which were originally planned for this summer. ” We will do all the flight preparation sequences, filling the tanks, igniting the Vulcan engine and simulating all the missions. This should last four to five months “, Detailed André-Hubert Roussel.