The Ariane Group is reporting that the 26th qualification tests of the Vulcain® 2.1 engine, which will power the Ariane 6 main stage, have been successfully completed.
This final qualification test took place on July 16 on the P5 test stand at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) site in Lampoldshausen and lasted almost 11 minutes. Both Ariane 6 liquid propulsion engines have now completed their firing qualification tests. The qualification tests for the Vinci re-ignitable engine for the Ariane upper stage were completed in October 2018.
This success, which is decisive for the further development of Ariane 6, marks the end of this qualification test campaign, during which the Vulcain® engine will have functioned for 13,798 seconds, or a total of nearly 4 hours. The significant milestones achieved during the Vulcain® 2.1 qualification campaigns include:
- A total of 13,798 seconds of operation, or nearly 4 hours
- A firing test with a controlled engine oscillation of +/- 5 degrees, using Ariane 6 flight actuators
The qualifying tests for the Vinci® re-ignitable engine, which will power the launcher’s upper stage, were completed in October 2018. On the solid propulsion side, the P120C solid fuel engine, which will equip the Ariane boosters and the first stage of Vega-C, has already been tested twice successfully in French Guiana. Its qualification will be completed with the third test bench firing at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.
As the design authority and industrial lead contractor for the Ariane 6 launcher development and operation on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA), ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, said the completion of the Vulcain 2.1 engine qualification tests is a major step forward in the development of Ariane 6. Following the qualification of the Vinci engine last year, all the Ariane 6 liquid propulsion engines have now completed their qualification firing tests. The last step in the qualification of the Ariane 6 engines will be that of the solid fuel side booster. Its third and final firing will take place in French Guiana at the beginning of 2020.