ENGIE Axima helping to prepare the Ariane 6 space launch

The initial launch of the prospective Ariane 6 rocket is planned for late 2020. Before then, though, a lot of work will be going into building its launch site – a project ENGIE Axima Belgium is actively involved in. But what is it doing precisely?

ESA jbc sli

Welcome to the ‘Centre Spatial Guyanais’ (Guiana Space Centre) in Kourou, where the Ariane rockets are launched. On this site, covering 72 hectares (so the size of 150 football fields), and along the ‘Route de l’Espace’ (Space Road) leading there, ENGIE Axima has already welded 12 km of pipes. These form the beginnings of the air-conditioning systems the company is going to install in the buildings making up the future launch site for the new Ariane 6.

First Belgian company to work on the launch site

ENGIE Axima was the first Belgian company to receive an order for Ariane 6’s ground facilities. This contract, worth more than € 10 million, is a natural progression from ENGIE Axima’s previous space-industry work and underlines its key role in the construction, maintenance and operation of the Centre’s air-conditioning systems.

At lift-off, the thrust of Ariane 6 version 64 (which has four boosters) will be equal to that of over ten A380 super jumbo jets, making effectively cooling the launch area absolutely essential. Over the next few weeks, ENGIE Axima will get started on installing the ventilation and cooling facilities. The plan is to hand over the system in 2019.

One site, two contracts

But ENGIE Axima’s contribution to the development of Launch Complex 4 for Ariane 6 won’t stop there. A few weeks ago, ENGIE Axima won the call for tenders to also produce the air-conditioning facilities for the extension to the Booster Integration Building, which will house the Ariane 6 P120 boosters and the Vega-C launcher.

This contract involves installing three air-handling units in the new building as well as producing the premises’ entire ventilation system, the hydraulic works, the control units and the electrical infrastructure for the whole HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Works will start in May 2018 and is due for completion in February 2019.

The countdown has started for ENGIE Axima.

Picture: ESA.

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