The 700 tonne steel table that will support Ariane 6 at liftoff is now on the pad at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
This structure is so large that it arrived in parts by ship in February, was then welded together and fitted with equipment at a preparation area about 250 m from the launch pad.
Moving this giant 4 m high, 20 m long and 18 m wide table into its permanent position on the centre of the pad is complex.
Four hydraulic jacks lifted the table, then two trollies moved the table to the edge of the launch pad.
A temporary railway and a mechanical guidance system helped roll the table into position over the centre of the pad where it will be lowered with millimeter precision into its final position in the coming days.
Further mechanical, fluidic and electrical equipment will be installed inside and outside the table.
Activities at Europe’s Spaceport continue to make headway with the next major works involving the integration of the mast as well as the exhaust ‘deflector’ that will sit at the base of the concrete flame duct reaching 25 m below the launch table.
Ariane 6’s first flight is planned for mid-2020.