You are here:


Support for the international space project "Ariane 6"

Unique modularity and flexibility 

Europe's independent access to space will continue to be realised by the construction of the European rocket, Ariane 6. Thanks to its unique modularity, the new launch vehicle family, the first launch of which is scheduled for summer 2020, is designed to provide maximum flexibility and reliability.

There are two different configurations: Ariane 64 is equipped with four boosters and can transport more than 11 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) in a double-start. Ariane 62, on the other hand, has two boosters and is designed to carry around 5 tonnes of payload into GTO or 5.5 tonnes in sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

International cooperation

The European Space Agency (ESA) programme is an international joint venture. Development and production are driven by multinational teams of experts. To ensure the best possible quality, they use state-of-the-art digital technology and are geared towards the most efficient organisational standards - including the construction of the new ELA-4 launch pad located at the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana, for example. As early as 2009, the CNES (Centre National d'Etude Spatiale) decided to undertake the next generation to Ariane 5, the start of construction began in 2015.

Ariane 5 · July 25, 2018 • flight VA244 was performed from Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone. Ariane 5 transported four satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation satellite system.
Ariane 5 · July 25, 2018
• flight VA244 was performed from Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone. Ariane 5 transported four satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation satellite system.

Development of the high voltage infrastructure

The contract for all infrastructure work was awarded to the Eiffage Group - more precisely, the Space Division of CLEMESSY SA, a subsidiary of Eiffage. An essential part of the order was the power distribution for the launch pad and all ancillary buildings. Engineers from CLEMESSY Space developed the system for the power supply to the new plant - based on a centralised high voltage supply to be built on the site of the old Ariane 5 launch platform ELA-3. From here it is a matter of supplying power to and securing the high voltage dispatch substation on the new launch pad ELA-4.

During a rocket launch all processes such as rocket ignition, the opening of valves or the operation of various measuring instruments must be continuously powered, a highly reliable power supply is essential. Failure of the automatic controls and switchgear in the high voltage infrastructure could lead to a grid or power failure that would prevent a safe rocket launch. In order to avoid this worst-case scenario and to have an experienced and reliable partner at its side, CLEMESSY SA decided to co-operate with BENNING as its power systems provider.

Intensive engineering services

The co-ordination and negotiation discussions began in March 2016 with the contract awarded to BENNING in October 2017. A significant deciding factor in this, in particular, was the high level of technical support even in the context of preparing the proposal, combined with the excellent reliability and quality which symbolise the modular industrial rectifiers of the TEBECHOP 3000 HDI series. The power supply system for both the high voltage central station and for the electrical dispatch substation is based on this model type. Moreover, BENNING and Eiffage, the parent company of CLEMESSY SA, have had very good business relations for several years. For example, in 2014 BENNING supplied Eiffage Rail Express with power supply systems and batteries for the new high-speed rail line between Le Mans and Rennes (see Power News 07/2016) - a successful co-operation which will continue within the framework of the "Ariane 6" project and most probably beyond.

Modularity and flexibility

The modular rectifier systems were supplied by BENNING in June 2018. They are used for the safe and continuous power supply to the PLC control systems that manage the automated sequences and switching processes in the central station and in the substation. The modular rectifier systems of the TEBECHOP 3000 HDI series were developed taking into account the special conditions of industrial use, for example in the petrochemical industry, in power generation and distribution, in automation technology and in traffic engineering.

The central components include power modules with reliable hot plug technology, which are installed in 19" rectifier modules in the corresponding number, depending on the power requirement. There is a parallel system of power modules, so that both flexible scalability of the output power and the provision of redundant systems (e. g. n + 1 redundancy) are possible.

19” modular rectifier shelf with 5 modules  TEBECHOP 3000 HDI
19” modular rectifier shelf with 5 modules TEBECHOP 3000 HDI

Low operating costs

The 19" rectifier plug-in units have a compact design and require only three u (height units) for installation in corresponding system cabinets. They are also characterised by high energy efficiency, since they have a very low power loss in both partial load and full load operation, and thus contribute to lower operating costs.

This ensures that power supply systems are provided to CLEMESSY SA that fully meet the demanding quality and innovation requirements. As with the technology used in the construction of the Ariane 6 and the ELA-4 launch pad, the highest level of reliability and operational safety is combined with the best possible efficiency and flexibility and, just as the entire Ariane 6 project is composed of international teams of experts, BENNING is also characterised by a global, customer-oriented service and support network. These form the best conditions for successful co-operation.

Further Information

contact: Bruno Guery
telephone: +33 2 77 68 60 13

Go back