ArianeGroup has completed qualification testing of the re-ignitable Vinci engine that will power the upper stage of Ariane 6.
ArianeGroup has completed qualification testing of the re-ignitable Vinci engine that will power the upper stage of Ariane 6. The 148th and final test was successfully completed on 12th October on the PF52 test bench at ArianeGroup’s Vernon site.
The final test had a duration of more than 15 minutes (957 seconds) and included two boosts. During the qualification test campaign the engine was operated for a total of 52,156 seconds (more than 14 hours).
These tests in Vernon followed the development/qualification tests in space vacuum conditions carried out in 2017 and 2018 on the P4.1 test bench of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Lampoldshausen, Germany.
The qualifying campaigns have achieved several major ‘firsts’ in terms of performance, such as:
an series of 20 successful consecutive boosts during a single test of 300 seconds
a test with a total duration of 1,569 seconds
The objective was to test the Vinci engine beyond its operational requirements: during its missions, it will only need to be ignited up to four times, with a maximum burn time of 900 seconds in flight.
Assembly of the first Vinci engine flight model is scheduled to get underway in early 2019. It will then be integrated with the upper stage of the first Ariane 6 launcher flight model at the ArianeGroup site in Bremen, Germany.
Production of the first parts for Vinci flight engines is underway at various ArianeGroup sites, including:
combustion chambers at Ottobrunn in Germany,
divergent nozzles at Le Haillan near Bordeaux (France),
hydrogen turbopumps at Vernon.
The first flight of Ariane 6 is scheduled for 2020.