Ariane Group has announced the successful test of the Ariane 6 Vulcain Engine, carried out with the help of a 3D printed generator gas. The test is performed by the DLR (German Aerospace Center) on the P5 test facility at its site in Lampoldshausen, Germany on behalf of ArianeGroup.

The company developed the Vulcain® 2.1 engine to power the main stage of the Ariane 6 launcher, for which the maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.

The Ariane 6 Vulcain Engine

This is a version of the Ariane 5 Vulcain® 2 engine especially adapted for the Ariane 6 main stage, to simplify production and to lower costs. To reach these objectives the engine integrates technologies such as a gas generator built using 3D printing, a simplified divergent nozzle, and an oxygen heater for tank pressurization. These adaptations enable to achieving the cost targets set for the Ariane 6 launcher, while retaining the efficiency and reliability demonstrated on Ariane 5.

The tests carried out at Lampoldshausen will allow the new engine to be tested throughout its flight envelope (thrust, mixing ratio, propellant supply conditions).

However, as far as the Ariane 6 upper stage Vinci® engine qualification program is concerned, it is continuing on schedule, with more than 130 test firings performed on the two test beds in France and Germany (the P4.1 at the DLR’s Lampoldshausen site and the PF52 at the ArianeGroup test site in Vernon, France), including several demonstrations of the multiple ignition capability required by Ariane customers for their missions on Ariane 6.

For those who do not know, ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

This week, Rocket Lab has also announced the successful launch of its 3D printed Electron rocket from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand.


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