Ariane 6 Maiden Flight


Successful maiden flight of Ariane 6: Beyond Gravity contributed several products

Beyond Gravity celebrates the successful maiden flight of Ariane 6 by supplying the European launcher manufacturer ArianeGroup with payload fairings, high-temperature insulation and mechanisms for the new rocket. All products were used on the successful maiden flight.

Beyond Gravity is part of the success story that was written yesterday with the successful maiden flight of Europe's new launcher. Ariane 6, a European Space Agency (ESA) program, is a family of launchers designed to offer maximum flexibility to institutional and commercial customers. Thanks to its large volume under the payload fairing, Ariane 6 can carry out conventional single or dual launches as well as complex missions to meet new market requirements, such as the launch of electrically powered satellites or multiple launches of constellation satellites. It replaces Ariane 5, which has been in service since 1996 and has performed more than 100 successful launches.

Beyond Gravity involved with three products

As a reliable partner of the customer ArianeGroup, Beyond Gravity was involved in the first flight with various components. The international aerospace company supplied the payload fairing manufactured in Emmen, Switzerland, which protects the payload (satellite) from external influences during the flight into orbit. In Vienna, Austria, high-temperature insulation was manufactured for the rocket engine of the lower stage of the launch vehicle. Beyond Gravity also supplied a mechanism (passive cardan joint) for engine alignment of the upper stage of the rocket.

"With our contribution to the successful maiden flight of Ariane 6, we have once again proven that we are a reliable and competent partner for the next generation of rocket technology. I look forward to continuing to work with our long-standing partner ArianeGroup and to further important missions to which we can contribute," says André Wall, CEO of Beyond Gravity.

Modern and efficient production process for payload fairings

The upper part of the rocket is called the payload fairing. Its main function is to protect the satellites at the launch site from high temperatures, solar radiation, dust, moisture or rain prior to launch. During the first few minutes of flight, the payload fairing reliably protects the encapsulated satellites from the noise, enormous frictional heat and mechanical stresses. In a semi-automated process, Beyond Gravity manufactures each half-shell in one piece from carbon fiber composite material that is "cured" in an industrial oven. 

Heat shield and mechanism for new European rocket

In Austria, Beyond Gravity produces the high-temperature insulation for the rocket engines of the launcher's lower stage and a mechanism for engine alignment of the rocket's upper stage. On the journey from Earth to space, the rocket engine, which is protected by the insulation, has to withstand extreme heat of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius for several minutes. 
At this temperature, iron begins to melt. For Ariane 6, the company is also supplying a gimbal mechanism for the upper stage of the rocket. The mechanism serves as a joint to align the engine for the thrust vector control of the rocket's upper stage. The special mechanism, which weighs just ten kilograms, has to transmit the thrust forces of 15 tons (comparable to the force of a diesel locomotive) and function flawlessly in the large temperature gradient (200°C) between the cold liquid gas propellant tank and the hot combustion chamber.

Franziska Hamann
Franziska Hamann Senior Global Communication Manager