During the night of 23 to 24 October at the Guiana Space Centre, teams completed a full-scale 36-hour long test consisting in the execution of a full launch chronology enriched by multiple qualification tests on several launch system functions. Operators spent nine hours on a countdown to liftoff, performed once again the ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 combustion chamber and stopped as planned just before ignition of the Vulcain 2.1 engine.
This time, operations were performed at night to ensure a cooler ambient temperature. Ariane 6 tanks hold 180 tonnes of cryogenic propellant (liquid oxygen and hydrogen), so fueling takes hours from start to finish to fill the four tanks (two for the core stage and two for the upper stage). During the process, engineers are constantly adapting flow rate and monitoring temperatures (liquid hydrogen is at -253°c) both for the launcher and the ground installations.
The full and lengthy chronology ended after the performance of the emergency draining of the main stage tanks via the engine for validation of the procedure and final reconditioning of the launcher. One more step towards inaugural flight has been successfully performed !