Courcouronnes, France, September 30, 2013 (Snecma PR) — Snecma has kicked off a new series of tests of the Snecma (Safran) Vinci® cryogenic rocket engine intended for the upper stages of the new Ariane launchers, the upgraded Ariane 5ME (Midlife Evolution) and the brand-new Ariane 6. The first two tests of the No. 5 development engine, on September 10 and 26, were a complete success.
The Vinci® M5 variant features a hydrogen turbopump that incorporates the latest configuration changes. Lasting ten months, this series of tests will include a total of 16 firing tests and will enable validating the latest modifications in order to freeze the design by the end of 2014.
“The fifth example of our Vinci® engine confirms the maturity of the technologies used, and the tests show the engine’s excellent performance,” said David Quancard, director of Snecma’s Space Engines division.
Four Vinci® development engines were already successfully ground tested from 2005 to 2012, logging over 15,500 seconds of operation during 61 firing tests. With the kickoff of the current series of tests, the development of the Vinci® engine is on track to meet the technical objectives and timetable set by the European Space Agency (ESA), which should culminate in the qualification of the engine in 2017.
The Vinci® cryogenic engine (fueled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen) is restartable in flight, and offers three times more thrust than the HM7B engine used on the upper stage of the current Ariane 5 ECA launcher. It is being developed by Snecma (Safran) as prime contractor, leading a team of European partners.
Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6 are ESA programs, with Astrium ST as industrial prime contractor in charge of the development of these new launch vehicles.
Snecma is part of Safran, an international high-technology group with three core businesses: aerospace, defence and security. Snecma designs, builds and sells propulsion systems for air and space, including a wide range of commercial engines that are powerful, reliable, economical and environmentally-friendly, led by the global best-seller CFM56 and the new-generation LEAP*. The company also makes world-class military aircraft engines, as well as rocket propulsion systems and equipment for satellites and launch vehicles. Snecma is a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for civil and military aircraft engines, under the new EngineLife® brand, offering comprehensive support for customers around the world.
* CFM56 and LEAP engines are produced and marketed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran), France and GE of the United States.