Air Liquide has signed several contracts for the supply of cryogenic equipment for the propulsion of the future European launcher Ariane 6, as well as for the design and production of the cryogenic fluid systems of the new Ariane Launcher System (ELA4) of the Guiana Space Centre.
The contracts for the sale of the equipment, amounting to more than €100M, will be executed over the next three years.
Air Liquide will support the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) and Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) in the development aboard and on the ground of the future launcher Ariane 6. The Group will be in charge of cryogenic studies, and will notably design and manufacture the cryogenic lines of the tanks of the main and upper stages of the launcher, which contain 175 tonnes of liquid hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2).
On the Kourou launch pad in Guiana, Air Liquide was also chosen for the design of equipment for the distribution of cryogenic fluids, O2, nitrogen (N2), H2 and helium (He), required for the propulsion of the new ELA4 launcher system dedicated to Ariane 6.
Air Liquide has been supporting the development of successive generations of Ariane 1 through Ariane 5 launchers for 50 years, developing innovative cryogenic technologies and supplying a complete offer, aboard and on the ground, of high technology equipment, gases and related services. Cryogenic propulsion offers benefits in terms of reliability, safety, and technological maturity and ensures greater accuracy in orbiting satellites.
Air Liquide is participating alongside other players in the European space sector in improving the performance and competitiveness of the future Ariane 6 launcher, whose first test flights will take place in 2020.
François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee, supervising Innovation, said, “A historic partner of the space programme and a player in the scientific community, Air Liquide has developed unique expertise in space cryogenics supporting the Ariane programme in all phases of launcher development. We are glad to contribute to a sector of excellence and to respond to the new challenges of the European space sector.”