The table that will support Ariane 6 on the pad is being assembled at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
This 700 tonne steel structure is 4 m high, 20 m long and 18 m wide and sits in the centre of the launch pad. It is so large it had to be dismantled before it was shipped from Germany.
The table arrived in Kourou on 30 January and was moved by truck to a preparation area about 200 m south of the Ariane 6 launch pad.
Now that the main structures of the table are in position, engineers have begun welding them together and will be finished by the end of April.
The installation of equipment inside the table such as the fluid and cryogenic systems, power supply, air-conditioning and security systems will follow in early May.
In August the table will be transferred to the pad for final installation.
The table and all ground systems will be validated and checked by the end of September 2019.
At liftoff, the table is subjected to very high pressures and temperatures from the booster plumes.
Machinery installed inside the launch table must also withstand strong vibrations and the acoustic environment generated at liftoff.
Ariane 6’s maiden flight is planned for mid-2020.