DLR's competence in the development and operation of engine test stands are unique in Europe. For more than 50 years now, rocket and space-system propulsion units have been tested and developed at the Lampoldshausen site. Forming part of the Ariane programme, these research activities serve to secure Europe's competitive and autonomous access to space on which the unrestricted use of satellite data depends. DLR's P4 high-altitude simulation test bed is indispensable for the development of Vinci, Europe's most powerful upper-stage engine of the future: as the stand permits simulating environmental conditions and in-flight stresses to which the engine will be exposed in flight later on, scientists can run their tests as realistically as possible. Next to developing and operating rocket test beds, Lampoldshausen's remit includes exploring advanced technologies for future space propulsion systems. In this field, too, DLR conducts its research in cooperation with European partners.