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The protective payload fairing proved by the Ariane 5 launch flight VA238 on 28 June 2017 was built from only four instead of the usual 14 panels. Fewer metallic junctions reduced the mass of the fairing by 107 kg, giving a performance gain of about 10 kg in geostationary transfer orbit.
Different composite material and optimised manufacturing processes also lowered costs. From August 2017, Vega will use fairings built in the same way.
Switzerland’s Ruag Space with Airbus Safran Launchers as prime contractor, developed this fairing under ESA’s Launchers Exploitation Accompaniment Programme which nurtures innovation within European industry to guarantee independent access to space for Europe.
This new fairing for Ariane 5 qualifies the manufacturing technology that will be used for Ariane 6, which will comprise only two panels.