Tank demonstrator (Airbus DS) on the hexapod at the cryogenic laboratory.
The safety of autonomous European space travel is a fundamental element of German, and European, policy. Access to high-performance and sustainable launch vehicles is vital. For Europe, this is provided by Ariane 5. In order to meet increasing future requirements, the ESA Council at Ministerial Level passed a decision in November 2014 for the development of Ariane 6. One of the requirements stipulated by the Council is that Ariane 6 must be as similar as possible to Ariane 5ME in terms of the reignitable cryogenic upper stage. The national objective is to further manufacture and construct the control system for the upper stage. Cryogenic fuel handling is a key technology with regard to the development of the upper stage of European space transport.
The aim of DLR's main project ‘Research Association Upper Stage’ is to strengthen and build up expertise in the area of upper stages on a national level. The objectives can only be reached with outward-looking and innovative research that is based on application. The research association should serve to agree on research and development carried out by parties, to act as a partner, and to guide all towards achieving their goals. In addition to the national space industry (Airbus DS and MT Aerospace), ZARM from the University of Bremen, as well as four DLR Institutes (Bremen, Lampoldshausen, Göttingen and Braunschweig), are taking part under the leadership of the Institute of Space Systems. Their aim is to research the following key technologies, and to develop these for implementation.
The main area of research for the department of Transport and Propulsion Systems is cryogenic fuel handling, in which the Institutes's cryogenic laboratory plays a vital role.