The propulsion system for the Ariane-5 launcher's cryogenic main stage operated successfully for 280 seconds (the nominal time authorised for a battleship tank configuration) in a test carried out on Thursday, 17 November 1994 in the launch zone at the Guiana Space centre (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana (see ESA Press Release no. 36-94).
This successful test accordingly validates the ignition sequence for the Vulcain engine on the launch pad as well as the operation of the stage's fluids and electrical systems and the launch zone.
The functional margins for all the stage subsystems will be verified as a result of this campaign of tests, which will continue on the same hardware until mid-January 1995. The campaign, for which SEA (France) is responsible as prime contractor, will be followed in 1995 by a second one that will involve the entire first stage in a configuration identical to that of a flight.
The cryogenic main stage is part of ESA's Ariane-5 programme, the management of has been delegated to CNES.
(*) The cryogenic main stage, standing over 30 metres high and with a diameter of 5.4 metres, is powered by the Vulcain cryogenic engine providing l12 tonnes of thrust for 600 seconds. In flight, the stage tanks contain 132 tonnes of liquid oxygen and 27 tonnes of liquid hydrogen.