In the Spotlight

Successful launch of Ariane 6 with Thales Alenia Space technology on board

In the Spotlight

Successful launch of Ariane 6 with Thales Alenia Space technology on board

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    Europe’s new heavy-lift launcher, Ariane 6, successfully lifted-off on July 9th from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, opening a new chapter in Europe’s autonomous access to space.

    Thales Alenia Space has contributed to this collective success by developing and manufacturing key technologies on board Ariane 6: the launcher’s range safeguard system, the telemetry transmitters and the control electronics for the nozzle steering systems.

    Ariane 6 launch

    Ariane 6 – Launch pad © ESA - L. Bourgeon

    A versatile launcher

    Ariane 6 will launch a wide range of space missions for institutional and commercial customers. The launcher comes in two versions, depending on the power needed for each flight: Ariane 62, equipped with two solid rocket boosters, and Ariane 64, which will have four. In its more powerful configuration, Ariane 6 will be capable to carry up to 21.6 tons of payload mass to low Earth orbit (LEO) and up to 11.5 tons to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). In its first flight, Ariane 6 was equipped with two boosters and showed off the rocket’s restartable upper stage.

    More than 50 years contributing to European space transportation

    Thales Alenia Space’s participation in Ariane 6 draws on more than 50 years of expertise in launchers. Since the early 1970s, Thales Alenia Space in Belgium has been a major and long-standing partner, having developed and manufactured thousands of pieces of equipment for European launchers, including the whole Ariane family from Ariane 1 to 5, and now Ariane 6.

    Thales Alenia Space in Belgium is responsible for the range safeguard system of Ariane 6. The purpose of this system is to neutralize the launcher if an errant trajectory would endanger people or property. The electronics at the heart of this system are wholly designed and built by our teams in Belgium.

    Thales Alenia Space plant in Charleroi is also responsible for the control electronics for the three Thrust Vector Actuation Systems (TVAS) of Ariane 6. These systems are instrumental to control the launcher’s trajectory by steering the nozzles of the P120C solid boosters, the cryogenic stage and the reignitable cryogenic upper stage.

    Thales Alenia Space in Spain joins European launcher family

    Our teams in Tres Cantos (Madrid) have joined the European launcher family more recently, entrusted with the responsibility for the development and manufacturing of the telemetry transmitters of Ariane 6. These units are responsible for transmitting to the ground stations the data generated by the launcher throughout the whole launch mission.


    Telemetry transmitter © Thales Alenia Space

    Extending fiber-optic communications to the Ariane 6 launch complex

    The Space Alliance teams from Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space have also been responsible, on behalf of the French space agency (CNES), of the extension of the fiber-optic communications system (STFO) at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), in order to include the new launch complex for Ariane 6 (ELA4) and upgrade its capacities.

    The STFO communications system acts as an interface between launch customers’ test benches and satellites throughout the different launch preparation phases at CSG, including spacecraft fueling, satellite encapsulation under the launch vehicle fairing and launch pad operations.