Europe has completed assessing the rocket booster that will be viable for Ariane 6 and Vega C space vehicles. The P120C finalized its remaining fire tests showing that it is reliable for space missions.
ArianeGroup and Avio joint partnered through the Europropulsion plan to manufacture this P120C rocket booster that will be entailing the first capsule of Vega C and Ariane 6 spacecraft. These two spacecraft will be heading out for the missions come next year.
The Europropulsion program developed three models of the P120C, whose purpose was to conduct necessary extreme tests that will prove the system’s efficiency. The first prototype was for the Vega C space vehicle, which was tested two years ago. The second prototype was for fire-testing the Vega C booster to reveal the rocket’s deficiencies when it catches fire. The last booster tested this month tested the resistance of the booster under Ariane 6 fire test modules.
The last prototype was conducted at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. The Ariane 6 team was testing the thrust of the booster after firing it for two minutes.
These tests have been successful, and the two teams are waiting for a qualification booster with all the recommendations they proposed during the firing tests. The technicians collected all the essential changes required for this program and will be implementing them at the manufacturing site.
Ariane 6 will conduct its preliminary launch mission in the last half of next year. This spacecraft will be hosting two P120C boosters and together with the payloads estimated to exceed five metric tonnes to the GEO. The other mission for A64 will have a quartet of these boosters enshrined as the first stage while hosting 11 metric tonnes of cargo to the same orbit.
On the other hand, Vega C is preparing to use one P120C booster in their upcoming mission next year. Guilio Ranzo of Avio explained that they decided to consider alternative boosters for the Vega C spacecraft after receiving overwhelming orders from commercial customers requiring their payloads to reach the geostationary orbit. Vega C had halted its missions after experiencing failure last year.
Vega C recalled its launch operations in September, hosting 53 microsatellites, and will be sending them out in November. Avio was hoping to send three space vehicles this year and make the full launch next year.
Finally, the booster is a joint development among Europe’s best developers in the space industry. For instance, Avio developed the booster’s motor casing while the ArianeGroup manufactured the booster’s pivotal controller for its direction. Norwegian’s Nammo created the igniter while French Guiana’s Regulus made the casting of the propellant. Europropulsion then integrated all the components developing a concise booster.