Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana is gearing up for the arrival of Ariane 6, Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle. This aerial view taken in January 2020 shows the main elements of the new launch complex.
The 8200 tonne 90 metre-high mobile gantry will house Ariane 6 before launch. First in July then again in December 2019, the gantry was rolled along its rails to its prelaunch position over the launch pad. Platforms inside the gantry will allow engineers access to the rocket for integration and maintenance. The mobile gantry is retracted before launch.
Flame trenches on either side of the gantry will funnel the exhaust at liftoff.
Four lightning masts have been erected around the launch pad to protect against lightning strikes.
The water tower pictured left of the mobile gantry will provide the water that will quell the fiery plumes at liftoff.
The assembly building, on the right, is 20 m tall, 112 m long and 41 m wide and is located 1 km away from the launch pad. This is used for Ariane 6’s horizontal preparation and integration before rollout to the launch zone.