The European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed that a test-firing of the Ariane 6 core stage, originally planned for August 29, had to be postponed due to technical problems involving the control bench responsible for propellant loading and the automated countdown process.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has confirmed that a test-firing of the Ariane 6 core stage, originally planned for August 29, had to be postponed due to technical problems involving the control bench responsible for propellant loading and the automated countdown process.
This hot fire test involves firing Ariane 6's Vulcain 2.1 engine for a brief duration. The hot fire test has been rescheduled for September 5. ESA continues to work towards a more extensive test-firing of the core stage on September 26 at the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The core stage test, initially intended for July, encountered a previous delay when the automated countdown was prematurely aborted. This interruption was attributed to certain measurements exceeding predetermined limits. To address these issues, ESA opted to extend the timeline, allowing teams a two-week summer break and the opportunity to carry out necessary repairs on a hydrogen burn-off basin, which had suffered damage from water exposure.
In parallel, a separate test for the upper-stage engine of the Ariane 6 rocket is set to occur as early as September 1 at a facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany. The original date for this upper-stage engine test was delayed from late July due to software-related complications.
Despite these setbacks, ESA is pushing forward with a media briefing scheduled for September 4. The briefing will provide an update on the progress of ongoing testing endeavors and other preparatory activities leading up to the long-awaited inaugural launch of the Ariane 6 rocket.
While ESA had previously acknowledged that the first launch would be postponed to 2024, no specific launch date has been disclosed at this time.