RUAG Space will develop the payload fairings for the next generation of Europe’s Ariane launch vehicle.
RUAG has signed a contract providing for the development of a new payload fairing. The contract includes delivery of the flight model for the first launch of an Ariane 6 in 2020 to Airbus Safran Launchers who is the prime contractor for the new European launcher.
In Ariane 6, the European space industry is currently developing a new family of competitive, versatile launch vehicles that will secure autonomous European access to space for the next three decades while maintaining Ariane’s competitive edge in the commercial market. Because the two versions of Ariane 6 (A62 and A64) will be capable of transporting both light and heavy satellites, they will be ideally equipped to meet the needs of the satellite market. Ariane 6’s maiden flight is planned for 2020, with the launch frequency set to rise to up to twelve flights a year by 2023.
The carbon-fiber payload fairing developed by RUAG Space measures roughly 20 meters in length and forms the tip of the rocket and gives Ariane its aerodynamic form and is designed to protect the satellites before launch and during the flight through the atmosphere.
RUAG Space has been an industrial partner in the Ariane program from the beginning, and on the first flight of an Ariane rocket on December 24, 1979, the payload fairing was made in Switzerland. Since then, Ariane rockets have had RUAG fairings without exception. Even the small European Vega launcher and the American Atlas V rocket fly with payload fairings made by RUAG Space.
To consolidate its position as a global market leader for payload fairings in composite designs, RUAG recently started operations at a new Composite Center in Emmen. At the centre, modern manufacturing methods are being used to significantly reduce production costs for the fairings.