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Aerospace industry

Cutting-edge expertise in a strategic environment

Few human activities speak as much to the imagination as space exploration. However, launching a rocket or satellite into space cannot be improvised! Production of XXL cold, underground pipes, air treatment, clean rooms, etc. EQUANS' activities in the aerospace field, mainly for the CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales) located in French Guiana, meet very strict schedules and technological challenges. Technical studies, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of facilities… the skills of our teams in this highly competitive sector date back several decades.

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From Vega to Ariane 6

In Kourou, French Guiana – where the Vega, Soyuz, Ariane 5 and soon Ariane 6 rockets are installed– EQUANS has developed a high level of expertise in facilities for critical cold applications. In this region with a tropical climate, variations in temperature and humidity are a major concern. As a long-standing partner of the French Space Agency (CNES), EQUANS is responsible for the ventilation, air conditioning and cooling of part of the facilities: launch areas, preparation buildings for the various parts of the launcher (manufacturing, integration, assembly, etc.), propellant production plants, etc.

XXL cooling

At launch, for example, a rocket - such as Ariane 5 or Ariane 6 - develops thrust equivalent to that of several Airbus aircrafts. Effective cooling of the launch area is therefore imperative. To do this, EQUANS installs chilled water production systems equipped with several refrigeration units. During launches (about one flight per month), the entire area becomes critical. Our operations and maintenance teams are on site to ensure that operations run smoothly and that the launch can take place in the best possible conditions.

Clean rooms and satellites

Specialised in sensitive environments, EQUANS also puts its skills at the service of building clean rooms necessary for the preparation of payloads (satellites). In these vast assembly halls (EPCU), the extreme purity of the air and the temperature and humidity conditions are determining factors.

Our teams meet the strictest criteria in terms of health and safety. If necessary, they are responsible for creating the network of pipes or ducts required for the air treatment unit they are installing.

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From maintenance to energy savings

EQUANS not only installs the equipment, but also maintains the facilities. When necessary, we carry out improvement works. For Ariane 5, for example, replacement of three 1 MW chilled water production plants by a single 5 MW chilled water plant was a project that lasted four years. This project alone reduced the energy bill by almost 30%.

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Over 25 years of experience

In French Guiana, EQUANS has experienced local teams for maintenance and operation works and activities in the aerospace industry. The EQUANS “project” teams are based in Belgium and have proven experience in the design, supply, installation and commissioning of these specific installations.

It is also on Belgian territory that EQUANS designed and produced the GST3 - the cooling module for the Ariane 5 rocket - which was then sent to French Guiana. In Belgium, we are also involved in the realisation of new aerospace projects.

 

Our expertise serving the aerospace industry

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