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Artist's view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64)
Enabling & Support

ESA selects payloads for Ariane 6 first flight

11/02/2022 19409 views 69 likes
ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Transportation / Ariane

In brief

This article is no longer up to date. For the latest on Ariane 6's first payloads, see here.

In-depth

This selection follows ESA’s announcement of opportunity in November 2021, which offered a launch to low Earth orbit for experiments up to a total mass of 80 kg and release of payloads with a combined mass of up to 800 kg. They will be hosted on a ‘mass dummy’ featuring a large platform, inside the 14 m long version of the fairing on an Ariane 6 fitted with two strap-on boosters (A62 version).

This demonstration flight will contribute to the qualification of the Ariane 6 launch system as part of the transition from its highly reliable and successful predecessor, Ariane 5. This launch is an important step in the preparation for future institutional missions planned for Ariane 6, such as Galileo.

For this flight, ESA is responsible for operations from the launch campaign to the payload separation, and then disposal of the upper stage through burn-up during reentry.

“I’m glad that ESA can use the very first Ariane 6 flight as a platform for launching these fantastic payloads, some of which will enable European start-ups to validate their systems and provide future commercial services. The Ariane 6 inaugural launch is a key step towards full qualification of the Ariane 6 launch system,” said Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation.

Experiments on board

Four experiments, ranging in mass from 0.15–12 kg, will be fixed to the platform on top of the mass dummy. These experiments will return valuable data up to the end of the mission when the upper stage reenters Earth’s atmosphere.

Organisation Country Payload Description Mass
Garef Aerospatial France PariSat Thermal equilibrium of an array to confirm black-body radiation theory ≤12
Sint-Pieterscollege Belgium Peregrinus Dual sensor magnetic field ≤ 0.5
Libre Space Greece SIDLOC In-orbit demonstrator Radio Frequency beacon ≤ 0.15
ESA ESA YPSat – Eye2Sky Photo and video footage < 3

Ridesharing payloads

ESA has also selected the candidate payloads listed below as part of the baseline for this Ariane 6 flight. Negotiations can now start for the corresponding launch service.

Organisation Country Payload Description Mass (kg)
PTS Germany CuriumOne with a duplicate ASTRIS Engineering Qualification Model PCB as primary payload

≤ 24.5

(AstroFein deployer: 6.5)

TU Berlin Germany OOV-Cube Microsatellite – IoT agriculture use case demo

≤ 17

(AstroFein deployer: 7)

ESA Education Office /  Technical University of Catalonia Spain 3Cat4 1U CubeSat – Techno demo Flexible Microwave Payload 1.3
ESA Education Office /  University of Lisbon Potugal ISTSAT 1U CubeSat – Characterisation of aircraft’s ‘cone of silence’ and in-flight performances of a custom-made Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system 1.3
Spacemanic Slovakia GRBBeta 1U CubeSat – Gamma Ray Burst detection 1.3
ArianeGroup France SpaceCase SC-X01 Test platform for reentry technologies such as new-generation ablative materials for thermal protection systems

≤ 43

(separated: 40)

The Exploration Company France, Germany Bikini Demo First passive, small-scale demonstrator of a reentry capsule

≤ 26

(separated: 20)

Deployers

Payload collection on Ariane 6 first flight
Payload collection on Ariane 6 first flight

Two deployers will be arranged on board and will accommodate CubeSats. The RAMI deployer is built by Spain’s UARX Space, and the ExoPOD is built by ExoLaunch in Germany.

With some spaces for CubeSats still available, ESA may add to this collection closer to launch.

Ariane 6 is a modular launch vehicle using two or four P120C strap-on boosters to achieve the required performance. The reignitable Vinci engine powers the upper stage which allows Ariane 6 to reach a range of orbits to deliver more payloads on a single launch. The upper stage engine will typically burn one, two or more times to reach the required orbits. After payload separation a final burn deorbits the upper stage to mitigate space debris.

Ariane 6 is a project managed and funded by the European Space Agency. ArianeGroup is design authority and industrial prime contractor for the launcher system. The French space agency CNES is prime contractor for the development of the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Arianespace is the launch service provider of Ariane 6.

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Ariane 6 at Europe's Spaceport
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