Launcher Fairings

Since 1974, RUAG Space has been responsible for the development and production of all Ariane launcher payload fairings. Currently, fairings are produced for the European Ariane 5 and for the United Launch Alliance Atlas V-500 launch vehicles as well as for the new small European Launcher Vega. The fairings are built in composite technology based on aluminum honeycomb cores with carbon fiber reinforced plastic face sheets. This construction method allows the combination of low mass with high stiffness. To date, all payload fairings built by RUAG Space in a variety of sizes and configurations have an unrivalled 100 % mission success.

RUAG Space not only designs and manufactures payload fairings but provides the customer also with the required support on the launch site. The data regarding the payload fairings' dynamic behavior during separation is routinely measured and down-linked to the ground control station and analyzed by RUAG Space specialists.

Challenges    Solutions
  • Severe environmental conditions induced 
    during flight
  • Total protection of payload
  • 100% reliability
  • Lowest shock levels
  • Guaranteed in-flight functional separation performance
  • Customized to mission-specific needs
 Technologies Customer Values
  • Low-shock pyrotechnical separation
  • Comprehensive simulation of separation dynamics
  • Advanced materials and processes
  • Low environmental conditions imparted to payload
  • Increase of payload mass
  • 100% mission success

Ariane 5

The European Ariane 5 launcher is currently the most successful Rocket for commercial satellite launches on the world market. It can carry two satellites with a total mass of up to 10 metric tonnes into the geostationary transfer orbit.

Atlas V-500

The Atlas V-500 rockets are constructed by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between the U.S. companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin. These launchers are primarily used to provide reliable launch services for the U.S. government. Depending on the actual configuration the Atlas V launchers can lift up to 13 metric tons of payload into the geostationary transfer orbit.


Vega is Europe‘s dedicated launcher for small and medium-sized payloads up to 1.5 metric tonnes. It will make access to space easier, quicker and cheaper.

Key Data

Ariane 5Atlas V-500Vega
Diameter5.4 m5.4 m2.6 m
Height17 m (long version)20.7 / 23.4 / 26.5 m7.8 m
Mass2’400 kg4’100 / 4’700 / 5’200 kg400 kg


The ISA 400 Interstage Adapter forms the link between the booster stage and the upper stage of the Atlas V-400 rocket. It is a nearly cylindrical structure with a diameter between 3.80 m at the bottom and 3.00 m at the top and a height of 4.20 m, which surrounds the engine of the Centaur upper stage during the first flight phase. The structure of the Interstage Adapter comprises an aluminium honeycomb core with carbon fibre face sheets, a design that allows the weight of the entire Interstage Adapter to be kept to around 730 kg while still enabling it to withstand the enormous loads encountered during launch. An insulation of cork is used to protect the interior of the adapter from the high temperatures produced by atmospheric friction during flight.