Bremen (DPA) – For the first time ever, the upper stage of the new European launch vehicle Ariane 6 is traveling from Bremen to Kourou Spaceport in French Guiana.
The rocket stage will not fly into space, but will be used at Kourou for testing, said Karl-Heinz Servos, head of production at Arianegroup in Bremen.
From the factory in the Hanseatic city, the rocket stage in its large transport box is to be brought to port in a heavy-duty truck during the night of Tuesday through Wednesday. Experts believe that it will take five hours to transport a 55-metre-long truck for a distance of more than 8 kilometres. A night later, the upper stage is to be loaded for sea transport to South America. “It’s the first step across the water from here,” Servos said.
In Kourou, Ariane 6’s main and upper stages will be combined into a single unit for the first time, he said. Then the communication between the ground system and the missile must be tested. At the spaceport, a future European launcher will also be placed at the newly built launch site for the first time.
Another test upper stage of the Ariane 6 was delivered to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) location, Lampoldshausen (Baden-Württemberg) in early 2021. Servos is expecting the Ariane 6 to debut in mid-2022. The upper stage for this is currently being completed in Bremen.
As with many aerospace companies, Bremen is the “European heart of space travel”, said economics senator Christina Vogt (Left Party). The importance of space travel for communications, science, climate and environmental research should be brought into the public consciousness even more, she said: “What we make available to mankind through space travel should not be underestimated. “
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211228-99-526417/2
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