Today, a new test facility at the DLR German Aerospace Center in Lampoldshausen, Germany, has been inaugurated. Ariane 6 will be the latest in a long series of European Space Agency projects that use the centre as their test facility, such as the ETID demonstrator engine by ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme and several other European launch vehicle engines.

The Ariane 6 facility will be used to test the launch vehicle’s upper stage, which uses the new reignitable Vinci engine. The facility will be vital for pre-launch tests because the site will be able simulate the complete launch sequence of Ariane 6, all the way from ground to orbit. 

“An essential part of proving that a launch system is ready, is to test the complete rocket stages in conditions that are as close as possible to those experienced in flight,” says Pier Domenico Resta, ESA’s Ariane 6 Launch System Architect Manager. “This new test facility will enable us to simulate the launch, from ground activities such as fuelling and draining of tanks, through all flight phases.”

For more information, read the official ESA article on the facility’s inauguration here.