Avio, KBKhA Test Fire Liquified Natural Gas Engine

LM10-MIRA engine firing. (Credit: KBKhA)
LM10-MIRA engine firing. (Credit: KBKhA)

VORONEZH, Russia (KVKhA PR) — On May 16, 2014 in the test facility, Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (KBKhA) successfully conducted test firing of the engine demonstrator LM10-MIRA, developed together with the Italian company Avio. Objectives of the first test fire were carried out in full.

Retesting was decisive stage of cooperation between the two companies in the framework of research works carried out by order of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

Joint research projects underway and KBKhA Avio since 2007 and provide for the establishment of demonstration liquid rocket engine (LRE) draft 7.5 tons running on propellants “oxygen – liquefied natural gas (LNG)” and performed by bezgazogeneratornoy scheme.

Engine Demonstrator LM10-MIRA developed to modernize liquid upper stage of a new modification RN “Vega” (version “E”), which is reflected in the plans of the European Space Agency.

LM10-MIRA test firing. (Credit: )
LM10-MIRA test firing. (Credit: )

RN “Vega” is an Italian carrier Avio developed within the European space program. April 30 this year, the third successful launch of the RN. Currently Avio has already begun work on the modernization of the said RN “Vega”, carried out by the parent company ELV.

Joint work on the creation of the engine LM10-MIRA performed on the basis of harmonized technical specifications in strict accordance with the phasing and standards adopted by the European space community. In support of work, a joint working group of leading experts and KBKhA Avio, successfully carried out the full range of stages of development, production and testing of the engine demonstrator.

Engine testing was preceded by test firing power plant successfully conducted in testing complex KBKhA in 2012 and confirmed the use of the camera to the mixing head KBKhA Avio.

LM10-MIRA engine. (Credit: KBKhA)
LM10-MIRA engine. (Credit: KBKhA)

The engine, manufactured at the production facilities KBKhA includes two units of its own design Avio – mixing head combustion chamber and fuel turbopump unit, which fully demonstrated performance during fire test.

Demonstrator engine on fuel, “oxygen-LNG” is created on the basis of oxygen-hydrogen engine RD0146, under development KBKhA commissioned by Roscosmos. To date, 77 fire tests Engine RD0146 with a total operating time of more than 4000 seconds. All tests were successful.

Using bezgazogeneratornoy scheme confirmed high reliability, simplicity of design and good performance engine demonstrator.

In a trial conducted May 16, 2014, was attended by representatives of the ICA, the parent company and the company ELV Avio.

Complex work together to create the engine demonstrator is carried out under the auspices of the Russian Federal Space Agency, to fully meet the necessary regulatory and legislative procedures for interstate cooperation.

In 2014, a series of fire tests on the engine stand KBKhA research work to create demonstration engine completed.

Following extensive Italian Space Agency and Roscosmos is a joint decision of the trends and prospects of further cooperation.


Avio is the leading Italian company in the field of rocket engines and space development. AVIO has five offices in Italy, France, Guiana, with a total staff of more than 800 people; in 2012, revenues reached € 285 million.

Avio is implementing a project to establish a PH “Vega” with the support of ELV (share of the Italian Space Agency is 30%), which is the general contractor, which allowed Italy to become one of the few countries that has been able to complete the production of the booster.

Avio has extensive experience in designing and manufacturing of power plants for solid and liquid fuel intended for rockets. Furthermore, Avio developed liquid oxygen turbopump assembly for cryogenic engine “Vulcan” and later two side solid rocket booster for “Ariane 5”.

Currently, power plants for solid fuels developed Avio, worked successfully in more than 210 launch vehicles “Ariane” and “Vega”

Avio company manufactured and supplied for the European and Italian space agencies propulsion systems for the management of more than thirty satellites, including recent SICRAL and Small GEO.