The qualification tests of Europe’s Vulcain 2.1 engine, which will power the Ariane 6 main stage, have been successful.
Ariane 6 is a space launch vehicle developed and manufactured by Ariane Group under the authority of the European Space Agency, with a first test flight scheduled for 2021.
The final qualification test on the Vulcain engine took place last month in Germany and lasted almost 11min. Both Ariane 6 liquid-propulsion engines have now completed their firing qualification tests (the qualifying tests for the Vinci re-ignitable engine, which will power the launcher’s upper stage, were completed in October 2018).
This latest success, which is decisive for the further development of Ariane 6, marks the end of its qualification test campaign, during which the Vulcain engine has functioned for 13,798 seconds, or nearly 4hr.
Ariane Group CEO André-Hubert Roussel said (www.ariane.group/en
): “Completion of the Vulcain 2.1 engine qualification tests is a major step forward in the development of Ariane 6.
"Following the qualification of the Vinci engine last year, all the Ariane 6 liquid-propulsion engines have now completed their qualification firing tests.
"The last step in the qualification of the Ariane 6 engines will be that of the solid-fuel side booster. Its third and final firing will take place in French Guiana at the beginning of 2020.”
On the solid-propulsion side, the P120C solid-fuel engine, which will used for the Ariane boosters and the first stage of Vega-C, has already been tested twice in French Guiana. Its qualification will be completed with the third test-bench firing at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.
As the design authority and lead contractor for the development and operation of the Ariane 6 launcher (on behalf of the European Space Agency), Ariane Group co-ordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small and medium-size enterprises.