Airbus Safran Launchers Begins Production of Ariane 6 Ground Qualification Models

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: ESA–David Ducros,)
  • The “Maturity Gate 6.1” industrialization review was held March 27 to April 20, 2017, among Airbus Safran Launchers, its industrial partners and independent experts
  • Based on the positive outcome of this review, production of the Ariane 6 ground qualification models has been green-lighted
  • The first flight of Ariane 6 is scheduled 2020

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus Safran Launchers PR) — With “Maturity Gate 6.1”, Airbus Safran Launchers and its industrial partners have passed a major milestone in the development of Ariane 6, under contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The review confirmed that the maturity of the industrialization of Ariane 6 is sufficient to begin production of the ground qualification models for the future European launcher, in accordance with the objectives of the program.

zThis major step follows on from “Maturity Gate 5” which, in 2016, had enabled Airbus Safran Launchers to validate the technical, industrial and programming characteristics of Ariane 6 and to continue with development of the launcher with its partners, as planned.

“Beginning production of the Ariane 6 qualification elements is an important step forward, reflecting the originality and efficiency of the industrial process set up for its development, production and operation. In this way, we can meet our deadlines and respect our commitments”, stated Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers. “The future European launcher is developed using validation milestones called “Maturity Gates”, as in the aeronautical industry, and we are going to start production of the first flight models by the end of the year, after reaching “Maturity Gate 6.2.”

The Ariane 6 development method, called “Ariane 6 Way”, comprises 15 major steps, 6 of which have already been completed. “Maturity Gate 11” will give the green light for the first flight of Ariane 6, while “Maturity Gate 15” will mark the end of development and the start of full operational capacity.

Each “Maturity Gate” takes place under the responsibility of Airbus Safran Launchers, and involves independent experts. “Maturity Gate 6.2” is slated to take place at the end of 2017, so that the production of the first Ariane 6 flight models can begin.

Ariane 6, which is also ideal for constellations, is built on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and will be a flexible, modular and competitive launcher available in two versions, Ariane 62 and Ariane 64, to guarantee continued European access to space.

About Airbus Safran Launchers

The Airbus Safran Launchers group develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. Airbus Safran Launchers is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. The Airbus Safran Launchers group and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs nearly 9,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its estimated proforma revenues exceed 3 billion euros.