Test complex P1.0 – altitude simulation
P1.0 is the smallest test facility in the Test Facility Department, used for tests under altitude conditions. Small propulsion systems with a thrust of up to 600 N and the so-called storable propellants mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) and dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) are tested here. The steam generator of the altitude test facility is operated with alcohol and liquid oxygen. The adjacent test bench P.1.1 offers expansion options for a further altitude test bench for small propulsion engines. The test facilities P1.2 to P1.6 are run by Airbus Safran Launchers.
Test facility P2 – ground tests
The test facility P2 dates back to the founding period of the state, as does test complex P1. Initially, it was conceived for tests under ground conditions of up to 1,000 kN. For security reasons and due to the further development of the overall testing ground, the upper thrust threshold is now limited to approximately 30 kN. Test facility P2 is currently operated by Airbus Safran Launchers.
Test facility P3 – component tests
Test facility P3.2 was erected in the period between 1987 and1989 for component tests. Since 1989 it was used to carry out development tests for the combustion chamber of the VULCAIN engine. After a restructuration, first development tests were executed with the combustion chamber of the new cryogen upper stage engine called VINCI. The facility was operated by EADS Astrium until mid 2005. The Test Facility Department took on the test facility in 2010 and has realised two successful test campaigns there ever since. In 2015, the testing facility was retrofit for a new propellant combination from liquid oxygen and methane. In a co-operation of Airbus and Safran Launchers a demonstrator that was particularly laid out for this fuel combination could be incorporated in tests.
Test facility P4 – altitude simulation
Test facility P4 comprises two test positions, namely P4.1 and P4.2. Both facilities were subject to several modifications after their first time usage to comply with the requirements of various development programs. In today’s expansion stage P4.1 and P4.2 are used for testing under altitude conditions. Both test positions offer the additional possibility to carry out tests under ground conditions. The AESTUS engine for the Galileo missions was tested on P4.2. The new cryogen re-ignition upper stage engine VINCI for Ariane 6 is tested on P4.1.
Test facility P5 – ground tests
Test facility P5 was built between April 1988 and July 1990. In the period from 1990 to 1996, the development tests for the VULCAIN engine of the cryogen main stage for the European carrier launcher Ariane 5 were carried out here. Acceptance campaigns for aircraft engines were run on P5 between 1996 and 1998. From 1999 to 2004 development tests for the enhanced VULCAIN-2 engine were done here. Currently and in the future, P5 serves and will serve for flight-accompanying campaigns for the VULCAIN-2 engine (ARTA tests). At the moment, test facility P5 is converted to the new main stage engine VULCAIN 2.1. The upcoming Ariane 6 will use this engine.
Test facility P5.2
The upper stage test facility P5.2 has been erected at DLR Lampoldshausen since 2014. It will allow testing cryogen upper stages under ground conditions. The particularity here is that not only propulsion systems but also complete cryogen upper liquid propulsion modules (ULPM) of the European carrier launcher Ariane 6 can be examined.
Test facility P8
In 1992 the business partners SEP (today: French propulsion system manufacturer SNECMA), DASA (today: EADS Astrium), CNES and DLR set up a European co-operation project on hydrogen/oxygen high- pressure combustion, and P8 was erected for this purpose. The facility disposes of two identical test cells with a 100-day/year availability for experiments. The costs are shared according to the respective financial shares invested by each partner. A third test cell is planned for the future to promote international co-operation and open up new fields of research.