Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with ArianeGroup to produce the range safeguard system for the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle.
Europe’s new launcher will combine proven solutions to meet changing market requirements, while maintaining the Ariane family’s track record of reliability. Thales Alenia Space in Belgium has contributed to this family since the outset.
Ariane 6 is a European Space Agency (ESA) programme, designed to maintain Europe’s position in a fast-evolving commercial market, while also meeting the needs of European government missions. The launcher will be available in two versions: Ariane 6.2, with two strap-on boosters, intended mainly for government satellites, and Ariane 6.4, with four strap-on boosters to offer dual launch capability (two satellites at once), primarily designed for commercial payloads. The first launch of Ariane 6 is expected in 2023.
The purpose of the range safeguard system is to neutralise the launcher if an errant trajectory would endanger people or property. The electronics at the heart of this system are wholly designed and built by Thales Alenia Space in Belgium.
This contract follows the previous development contracts for Ariane 6. It provides for a ramp-up until the 15th launcher, with the delivery of 112 components and subassemblies from now to the summer of 2024. It also lays the groundwork for the operating phase, which should stretch out over 30 years. The market outlook for the operating phase is positive, provided that the partners meet the competitiveness challenge, one of the main objectives for the ramp-up.
Thales Alenia Space in Belgium is also in charge of developing the control electronics for the nozzle steering system, while Thales Alenia Space in Spain is developing the telemetry transmitter.
Thomas Dermine, Belgian State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy, was on hand for the contract signature, which took place during the International Astronautical Congress in Paris.
Ina Maller, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Belgium, said: “This contract confirms ArianeGroup’s trust in the expertise of the Belgian teams who have been involved in European launcher programmes for over 50 years. It also reflects the regional and federal support that has made it possible for us, along with our partners, to develop increasingly innovative technologies and production facilities.”