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Successful final test firing of the P120C solid rocket motor (Ariane 6) in Kourou

Successful final test firing of the P120C solid rocket motor Ariane 6


ID Quantique is very proud to have contributed to the successful final test firing of the P120C solid rocket motor of Ariane 6 in Kourou on 7 October 2020. The boosters were fired by the fiber-optic based opto-pyrotechnic system, which was successfully tested and validated by ID Quantique’s photon counting OTDR installed on the test site of the solid propellant boosters.

Ariane 6 is the next generation of Launcher built under a programme funded by the European Space Agency1 (ESA). The new launcher Ariane 6 integrates several technological breakthrough and world first. One being the all fiber-optic based opto-pyrotechnic control and command system, enhancing the reliability, robustness and performance of the launching system.

ArianeGroup has been working with ID Quantique to develop dedicated ground test equipment for integrity and performance monitoring of the fiber optic control system network associated to the opto-pyrotechnic system and provide information about its integrity and performance in quasi real-time. IDQ designed a custom OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometry) based system, integrating IDQ’s ID281 SNSPD highest efficiency single-photon detection system as well as the ID900 Time Controller and the ID300 Pulsed Laser source to achieve unrivalled sensitivity and spatial resolution of one centimeter. The IDQ ground test equipment is used in Kourou as well as in the different Ariane 6 assembly test sites in Europe.

In 2019, ID Quantique has been awarded with an A-ranking by ArianeGroup as part of its supplier evaluation programme. It recognises the significant performance improvements achieved to meet the long-term aerospace industry requirements.

The whole test was carried out as planned and was a success. This was the last test before the inaugural flight of the European launcher scheduled for 2021. A lot of excitement for IDQ teams who look forward to the launch next year!

Read the full press release (en Française)

Watch the video of the booster test

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