Canopée, new Ariane 6 tonsAfter leaving Rotterdam, Netherlands on 27 December 2022 for her maiden voyage to French Guiana, the ransport arrived at the port of Pariacabo in French Guiana on 13 January 2023 for the first time. This first transatlantic crossing marks the end of sea trials.
“With Canopée’s naval qualification, we’ve reached another milestone in the Ariane 6 adventure. This cargo ship fully meets the program objectives: reducing costs, shortening production cycles and reducing our environmental footprint.” says Karl-Heinz Servos, Head of Industry, ArianeGroup. “The success of the sea trials means that qualification tests can now begin at the ports where Canopée will dock. Canopée will carry the Ariane 6 launcher on its maiden flight this summer, followed by the following launchers integrated into ArianeGroup’s facilities in France and Germany.”
The Canopée is custom built to meet the complex requirements of Ariane 6 transport. It is a hybrid propulsion vessel designed to transport all launcher stages and subassemblies together, to be environmentally friendly and to halve shipping costs, especially through the use of glider sails. The structure of the Canopée was designed to be able to carry large, fragile loads and navigate the shallow Kourou river in French Guiana to the port of Pariacabo. Canopée is 121 meters long and 22 meters wide. Its total displacement tonnage is 10,000 tons and it can travel at a speed of 17 knots.
Construction of the Canopée began in 2020 in the Polish port of Sczezcin, under the direction of shipping company Alizés, a joint venture between offshore services specialist Jifmar and naval architects Zéphyr & Borée, which won the project tender for ArianeGroup. The initial construction phase included the assembly of structural elements, the installation of engines and control systems, and the equipping of the ship. Canopée was first launched in June 2022 traveling from Sczezcin to Rotterdam, where the hardware was completed (wiring, navigation instrumentation, system initialization, router implementation and cabin layout). Afterwards, several days of sea trials were conducted to check that all electrical, propulsion and safety systems were functioning correctly. Canopée’s seaworthiness certificate was received on 23 December 2022. ArianeGroup began operating the Canopée in late December 2022, allowing the ship to make its first ocean crossing to French Guiana and complete sea trials. Canopée’s return leg to Europe will provide important data for future journeys. The ship will be equipped with four articulated glider sails by summer.
In the Ariane 6 program, ArianeGroup is responsible for transporting launch components from Europe to French Guiana using the first sailing cargo ship designed and developed for ArianeGroup by the Alizés joint venture. Ariane 6 is a program of the European Space Agency (ESA). is responsible for the entire launch system architecture. As the lead contractor and design officer for the launcher, ArianeGroup is responsible for development and production, and marketing and operations, together with its industrial partners, through its subsidiary, Arianespace.