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Satnews Daily
April 23rd, 2017

Major Milestone for Ariane 6 Completed by Airbus Safran Launchers and their Partners

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

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

Artistic rendition of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle.

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.
According to Alain Charmeau, the CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers, 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, the company can meet our deadlines and respect the commitments made. — the future European launcher is developed using validation milestones called “Maturity Gates,” as in the aeronautical industry, and full production of the first flight models will start by the end of the year, after reaching “Maturity Gate 6.2.