The DLR site at Lampoldshausen, which employs some 230 staff, was founded in 1959 by space pioneer Professor Eugen Sänger to act as a test site for liquid rocket engines. The site went into operation in 1962.
In January 2002 the DLR facility at Lampoldshausen, which is home to all research activities and experiments relating to rocket test beds, was officially named the Institute of Space Propulsion.
The Institute's ongoing research work focuses on fundamental research into the combustion processes in liquid rocket engines and air-breathing engines for future space transport systems. The Institute is also concerned with the use of ceramic fibre materials in rocket combustion chambers and the development and application of laser measurement processes for high-temperature gas flows. One of DLR's key roles in Lampoldshausen is to plan, build and operate test beds for space propulsion systems on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and in collaboration with the European space industry. DLR has built up a level of expertise in the development and operation of altitude simulation systems for upper-stage propulsion systems that is unique in Europe.
As part of the Ariane 5 Plus programme, for example (a joint programme operated by ESA and the French space research agency CNES), DLR Lampoldshausen was tasked with building the P4.1 altitude simulation test bed. Lampoldshausen was also responsible for performing development tests on the future upper-stage propulsion system VINCI.
In November 2000 the Technology Transfer Centre (TTZ) was founded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), regional business development agencies, the Heilbronn Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Heilbronn Chamber of Trade and the district of Hardthausen. The aim of the new centre was to exploit the expertise in various disciplines available from DLR in Lampoldshausen to help companies locate and develop in the area.
Key areas of research
- Development of altitude simulation systems for rocket test beds
- Development of propulsion supply systems
- Development of exhaust control systems and research into the reduction of noise pollution caused by exhaust jets
- Research into supersonic nozzle, diffuser and ejector technology
- Development of sub-systems for the integration of special measurement technology
- Planning, application and also some development of optical measurement technology and components
- Identification of heat transfer and ignition processes using CFD simulations
- The nozzles section carries out fundamental research into supersonic flows
- Propulsion tests