Ariane 6 full stage engine hot-fire test


Watch as Europe’s new Ariane 6 rocket goes through a full-scale rehearsal in preparation for its first flight, when teams from @ArianeGroup, @CnesFrance and ESA on the ground will complete a launch countdown rehearsal. The test includes the ignition of the core stage Vulcain 2.1 engine, followed by 470 seconds of stabilised operation covering the entire core stage flight phase, as it would function on a launch into space.

Coverage started 19:40 UTC (20:40 CET) on 23 November 2023, 20 minutes before engine ignition and continue five minutes after core stage operation, once the engine burns through all its propellant.

Timestaps of the video:
00:00 – 16:18 – Stay tuned
16:19 – 47:49 – Countdown and stop of countdown
47:50 – 01:14:19 – Stay tuned
01:14:20 – 01:30:43 – Restart of countdown and hot-fire test

For this rehearsal, the boosters were not ignited, so Ariane 6 stayed firmly on the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The eight-minute engine-fire trial reenacts how the Ariane 6 core stage will fire during a normal flight into space. The trial, conducted with a test model on the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport will be the longest ‘full-stack’ run yet for Ariane 6’s lower liquid propulsion module equipped with a Vulcain 2.1 engine.

The Vulcain 2.1 engine will burn through almost 150 tonnes of propellant supplied from the Ariane 6 core stage tanks – liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen – supercooled to temperatures below -250°C.

The Vulcain 2.1 engine is an evolution of the Vulcain 2 engine that made Ariane 5 Europe’s most successful launch system ever. The upgrade has a simplified and cheaper design and features new technology in the engine nozzle, while the ignition system has been moved from the engine to the launch pad to make the core stage perform better and cost less.

Credits: ESA – European Space Agency

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  1. This will be the last hurrah for ESA. It will go the way if cathode tube televisions and fixed telephones.

    Falcon 9 is destroying the competition. Starship will be reliable in two/three years. China is making its own reusable rockets by the end of the 2020's.

    ESA will have no customers in five years time. They won't do reusable, too much expensive research required. Just like they never did manned flight.

    It was good while it lasted. Somewhat held back by the insistence in using the French language, which they are so dogmatic about. The world of science and engineering uses mathematics and English, get over it.

  2. SpaceX killer is coming up soon, making first stage reusability dearer than 3D printed Ariane 6! SpaceX just eated $25Billions of US gouv money the last ten years to produce a LEO rocket with a losing roadmap of low cost by reusability into a space market not growing as "planed" and cost of reusability growing on an overweight rocket which can't only do LEO!

  3. THIS is an engine test! Hydrogen engines, the most efficient chemical fuel, roaring away for over 7 minutes!
    The exhaust plumes from the flame-trenches demonstrated a professional launch pad designed for rockets with powerful thrust.
    Elon Musk should have looked at this launch site before he started on Boca Chica.

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