First Static Fire Test Conducted on Ariane 6 Heavy Rocket

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Image source: ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) and ArianeGroup conducted the first static fire test of the Vulcain 2.1 engine on the upcoming Ariane 6 heavy rocket this week. The test, carried out at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, involved all pre-launch procedures, and the engine of the first stage was ignited for four seconds before being shut down.

“This successful test of the first stage complements the tests carried out on July 18 and is an important step towards the qualification of Ariane 6, as we have completed a significant portion of the operations required for a full launch campaign,” said Martin Sion, CEO of ArianeGroup.

It’s worth noting that the rocket used in these tests was not intended to launch into space, as confirmed by ESA. “The Ariane 6 rocket currently installed on the launch pad is not intended for flight – the solid rocket boosters of the rocket are inert – but it is virtually identical to the flight model and is intended for testing purposes,” ESA stated.

Originally, the heavy Ariane 6 rocket was slated for a 2020 launch. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various technological challenges, ESA had to revise its plans. It appears that the European rocket won’t be lifting off this year either. In August of this year, Stephane Israel, CEO of the space launch operator Arianespace, announced that the first Ariane 6 launch was rescheduled for 2024. The exact launch date is expected to be announced next month.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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