2. June 2016

New rock­et test rig for safe Ar­i­ane 6 launch­es

Artis­tic il­lus­tra­tion of P5.2
Image 1/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Artistic illustration of P5.2

What it will look like – the test rig P5.2. The up­per stage of the Ar­i­ane 6 will be test­ed ex­ten­sive­ly on this new test rig at the DLR site in Lam­pold­shausen. These in­clude fu­elling and de­fu­elling tests and hot run­ning tests for the up­per stage. The com­mis­sion­ing is sched­uled to be­gin in 2018.
Pas­cale Ehren­fre­und and Jo­hann-Di­et­rich Wörn­er sign the con­tract
Image 2/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Pascale Ehrenfreund and Johann-Dietrich Wörner sign the contract

The Chair of the DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board, Pas­cale Ehren­fre­und, and the Di­rec­tor Gen­er­al of the Eu­ro­pean Space Agen­cy (ESA), Jo­hann-Di­et­rich Wörn­er, signed the con­tract for the de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of the P5.2 test rig for the Ar­i­ane launch­er pro­gramme on 2 June at the In­ter­na­tion­al Aerospace Ex­hi­bi­tion (ILA) in Berlin.
Ex­te­ri­or of the P4.1 test rig
Image 3/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Exterior of the P4.1 test rig

The new Vin­ci up­per stage en­gine is be­ing test­ed in test rig P4.1 at the DLR site in Lam­pold­shausen as part of the Ar­i­ane 6 pro­gramme. This cam­paign is an im­por­tant mile­stone for the de­vel­op­ment of fu­ture Eu­ro­pean launch­ers; their flex­i­bil­i­ty will be great­ly en­hanced with the re-ig­nitable en­gine. DLR con­duct­ed hot run­ning tests on Vin­ci un­der space con­di­tions us­ing self-de­vel­oped steam gen­er­a­tors. Dur­ing this test, the en­gine was ig­nit­ed three times and can burn for up to 820 sec­onds dur­ing an ex­per­i­ment in a vac­u­um at less than six mil­libars. A max­i­mum of five ig­ni­tions are pos­si­ble. The test cam­paign be­gan on 4 May, 2016 and will last un­til Septem­ber 2016. The first launch of an Ar­i­ane 6 is planned for 2020.
Ex­te­ri­or of the P4.1 test rig
Image 4/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Exterior of the P4.1 test rig

The new Vin­ci up­per stage en­gine is be­ing test­ed in test rig P4.1 at the DLR site in Lam­pold­shausen as part of the Ar­i­ane 6 pro­gramme. This cam­paign is an im­por­tant mile­stone for the de­vel­op­ment of fu­ture Eu­ro­pean launch­ers; their flex­i­bil­i­ty will be great­ly en­hanced with the re-ig­nitable en­gine. DLR con­duct­ed hot run­ning tests on Vin­ci un­der space con­di­tions us­ing self-de­vel­oped steam gen­er­a­tors. Dur­ing this test, the en­gine was ig­nit­ed three times and can burn for up to 820 sec­onds dur­ing an ex­per­i­ment in a vac­u­um at less than six mil­libars. A max­i­mum of five ig­ni­tions are pos­si­ble. The test cam­paign be­gan on 4 May, 2016 and will last un­til Septem­ber 2016. The first launch of an Ar­i­ane 6 is planned for 2020.
Ex­te­ri­or view of the test rig P5
Image 5/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Exterior view of the test rig P5

Ar­i­ane 5 Re­search and Tech­nol­o­gy Ac­com­pa­ni­ment (AR­TA) tests for the Vul­cain-2 en­gines of Ar­i­ane 5 were car­ried out at the P5 test rig of the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) in Lam­pold­shausen. From 1999 un­til 2004 this was the scene for de­vel­op­ment tests to im­prove the Vul­cain-2 en­gine. The new first stage of the fu­ture Eu­ro­pean Ar­i­ane 6 launch­er will al­so be equipped with a new en­gine, the Vul­cain-2.1. This will be a fur­ther de­vel­op­ment from the Vul­cain-2 en­gine of the Ar­i­ane 5 with, among oth­er things, a new­ly de­vel­oped sand­wich noz­zle. For the de­vel­op­ment and qual­i­fi­ca­tion tests of the Vul­cain 2.1, which are planned from 2017, the DLR P5 test rig is cur­rent­ly be­ing adapt­ed to the new re­quire­ments.
Vul­cain-2 en­gine at the P5 test rig
Image 6/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Vulcain-2 engine at the P5 test rig

The Vul­cain-2 en­gine was ex­ten­sive­ly test­ed at DLR's P5 test rig in Lam­pold­shausen. Ar­i­ane 5 Re­search and Tech­nol­o­gy Ac­com­pa­ni­ment (AR­TA) were car­ried out from 1999 un­til 2005 to con­tin­u­al­ly im­prove the Vul­cain-2 en­gine. Eu­rope's fu­ture Ar­i­ane 6 rock­et will be equipped with a new en­gine, the Vul­cain-2.1, in which a new sand­wich noz­zle will come to use. This new en­gine will al­so be put through its paces at the P5 test rig. For the de­vel­op­ment and qual­i­fi­ca­tion tests of the Vul­cain 2.1, which are planned from 2017, the DLR P5 test rig is cur­rent­ly be­ing adapt­ed to the new re­quire­ments.

The future European launcher Ariane 6 will debut in 2020. In order for it to bring all its payloads safely to their orbits, the engines for the new launcher must first be extensively tested. To test the upper stage of the new launcher, a new test rig will be built at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Lampoldshausen. The Chair of the DLR Executive Board, Pascale Ehrenfreund, and the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Johann-Dietrich Wörner, signed the contract for the development and construction of the P5.2 test rig for the Ariane launcher programme on 2 June at the International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. All upper stages can be tested in this test rig – a capability unique in Europe.

"The Ariane 6 is the future of European space transportation – and DLR is an indispensable partner. Before the first flight of Ariane 6, the upper stage of the new launcher will be put through its paces in Lampoldshausen. With this, DLR assumes responsibility for the central task of making Ariane 6 as safe as its predecessors," said Ehrenfreund in Berlin. The upper stage of the Ariane 6 will be tested extensively on this new P5.2 test rig at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen. These include fuelling and defuelling tests and hot running tests for the upper stage. The commissioning is scheduled to begin in 2018.

Commitment to Germany as an aerospace location

The DLR Space Administration in Bonn lobbied for the new test bench to be built in Lampoldshausen. The German participation in the Ariane 6 programme will be controlled from this location. "Germany will have a 23 percent contribution in the new launcher, making it the second largest partner after France. We want to participate effectively and contribute our expertise profitably within the European arena. The construction of this test facility in Germany is a clear sign and confirmation of the great success of our commitment," explains Denis Regenbrecht, responsible for the Ariane 6 programme at the DLR Space Administration.

Extension of the test portfolio at the DLR Lampoldshausen site

The DLR Institute of Space Propulsion is technically responsible for the construction and subsequent operation of the test rig. At the Lampoldshausen site, DLR tests liquid rocket engines of different power classes on behalf of ESA and the European space industry. "The P5.2 is a major expansion of our test portfolio," explains Stefan Schlechtriem, Head of the DLR Institute of Space Propulsion. "In addition to engines and their components, we will be able to use it to test complete upper stages in future. This capability is unique in Europe."

  • Ariane 6 – Europe's future space transportation

    The Ariane 6 development programme was approved at the ESA Council at Ministerial Level in December 2014 and signed by 12 member states. With its first launch set for 2020, this European launcher system currently in development is globally competitive and will guarantee European access to space for ESA Member States. The total launch costs will be reduced by almost 50 percent compared to the Ariane 5. The major contractor for developing the Ariane 6 is the Franco-German company Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL). Another significant German player in this development is the Augsburg-based company MT Aerospace.

Contact
  • Andreas Schütz
    DLR Spokesper­son, Head of Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Martin Fleischmann
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR
    Strat­e­gy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
    Telephone: +49 228 447-120
    Fax: +49 228 447-386
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524
    53227 Bonn
    Contact
  • Anja Kaboth
    Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Lam­pold­shausen
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Pub­lic Af­fairs and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
    Telephone: +49 6298 28-201
    Fax: +49 6298 28-112
    Im Langen Grund
    74239 Hardthausen
    Contact
  • Denis Regenbrecht
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR
    Launch­ers
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524
    53227 Bonn
    Contact
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Schlechtriem
    Di­rec­tor
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Space Propul­sion
    Telephone: +49 6298 28-203
    Im Langen Grund
    74239 Hardthausen
    Contact
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