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ONERA’s preparations for Ariane 6 are underway

Europe has decided. The next European launch vehicle will be Ariane 6 - low-cost and operational by 2020. ONERA is ready for the R&T work to be performed on the future launcher, continuing its support for Ariane.

13 December 2014

The decisions taken at the ESA Ministerial Conference of the 2nd of December 2014 confirmed the critical need to maintain European competitiveness in launchers and led to the selection for 2020 of a modular configuration Ariane 6 PHH (three stages with "Powder", "Hydrogen" and "Hydrogen" propulsion, with two variations

The central and third stage will be equipped with Vulcain 2 cryogenic propellant engines (adapted from the Ariane 5 ECA version) and VINCI engines (developed for Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6). The solid propellant boosters of the first stage will use a technology developed for Arianespace’s small launcher Vega.

The ONERA-CNES cooperation is historic in the field of launchers. ONERA actively contributed to the reliability of Ariane 5 and the comfort of its payloads through its R&T and experimental tests.

ONERA’s expertise in the understanding of complex phenomena in the fields of solid and liquid propulsion, aerodynamics, aerothermics, acoustics and flight mechanics is strong with the definition of launcher control laws. ONERA has more recently contributed to the preparation of the future Ariane 6, in an earlier PPH version ("Powder", "Powder" and "Hydrogen" propulsion).

Currently, the choice of the new configuration is giving "launcher R&T" themes renewed impetus; these will be developed within the context of the ONERA-CNES Partnership Agreement and Common Interest Programs (PIC) recently launched:

  • high frequency instabilities
  • flow in the nozzles
  • heat transfer in the engines
  • launcher jet noise simulation
  • composite structure design
  • steering of launchers

These PIC will be carried out during a second part of the work from 2016 to 2018.

In addition, a new PIC is being prepared on the thrust oscillations (ODP) and technical assistance work on blast waves (which are a critical phenomenon for launchers) will continue.

The strengthening of cooperation in various fields of space research was officially recorded during the CNES ONERA bilateral meeting of the 8th of October 2014. In the field of launchers, a proposed line of study for after Ariane 6 is reusable launchers


Onde de souffle au lancement d'Ariane 6

ONERA CEDRE numerical simulation of the blast wave for an Ariane 6 configuration studied during the preliminary design. Challenge: to ensure the proper evacuation of this pressure wave during the first seconds of the launch, so that it does not damage the satellite located under the fairing.

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