ESA and CNES, using Sentinel Drones, has obtained stunning new drone footage showcasing the progress of the Ariane 6 future launch site. The construction of the launch site has been underway since 2017 and is scheduled for completion in the latter half of 2019, with a review to assess the technical qualification of the launch base planned for September 2019. The maiden launch of Ariane 6 is scheduled in mid-2020.
New #drone footage has just been released, showing the construction of @Ariane6's future launch site as of February 2019 🏗️ Ariane 6's maiden launch is scheduled for 2020, taking off from its specially-made launch complex as seen below at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana pic.twitter.com/2EPdoO7znU
— ESA Space Transportation (@esa_sts) February 26, 2019
In the video, all the key components of the launch site are featured. The mobile gantry, whose frame is now complete, will be the final home to the Ariane 6 launch vehicle that will be prepared vertically inside the gantry. Shortly before lift-off, the entire gantry moves backwards on rails to expose the vehicle before it takes off. This gives the technicians as much time as possible with the vehicle, only stepping back right before launch. The assembly building is where Ariane 6 is integrated horizontally before moving to the mobile gantry, allowing the technicians to work in a shop-floor type of environment.
For more details about what the different features seen in the video are, read about Ariane 6 on the ESA portal.