The Ariane 6 launch complex brings together all the infrastructure required for the assembly and launch of Europe’s new launcher. Under construction from 2015 to 2020, it is currently being used to perform the pre-launch tests.
The launch complex covers an area of 150 hectares and is used for the assembly and lift-off of Ariane 6. It also includes an ancillary services and a storage zone for launch preparation operations, as well as a water tower supplied by a nearby treatment plant.
The European Space Agency has entrusted CNES with the development of the new Ariane 6 launch complex, based on its 50 years of experience in building launch pads. ArianeGroup is responsible for the development of the launcher and Arianespace for its marketing.
The Ariane 6 launch complex is the 9th launch pad built by CNES at the Guiana Space Centre. It benefits from all the expertise acquired over the last fifty years.
Launcher Assembly Building
Ariane 6 will be assembled inside this building. Unlike Ariane 5 or Vega, the new European launcher will be assembled horizontally, then transported to the launch site before being erected vertically.
The Launch zone is the launch pad from which Ariane 6 will lift off. Under the mobile gantry (by means of an overhead crane), the launcher will be placed vertically, then the boosters will be attached to it. Finally, the upper part containing the satellites and the fairing will be integrated. It is also at the launch zone that the launcher will be filled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen just before lift-off.
Ancillary services zone
The ancillary services zones support the functioning of the site. They consist of a power plant capable of delivering 4 MW of power, a hot water/chilled water plant for air conditioning, and a water purification plant.
Cryogenic propellant storage rooms
The fuel (liquid oxygen) and oxidiser (liquid hydrogen) for the launcher will be stored in rooms. In addition, an area has been designed for flaring the gases produced by the storage of liquid hydrogen.
This station draws rainwater from a quarry to supply the water tower in the launch zone. After each lift-off, a treatment plant will clean up the water and sludge collected at the bottom of the flues. The treated water will be released back into nature after analyses certifying that it no longer presents a risk to the environment.
An exceptional construction site
The construction of this launch complex takes the operating cost reduction targets for Ariane 6 into account. The experience gained from the Ariane, Vega and Soyuz launch complexes has shaped the broad guidelines of this project. Find out more about the Ariane 6 construction project.
Find out more about the launch facilities dedicated to Ariane 6
Take a video tour of the Ariane 6 launch zone