In a milestone for the development of the Ariane 6 launcher, initial testing of the upper stage Vinci engine is now under way in Germany. Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) has started the hot-fire test campaign for the reignitable Vinci engine on the P4.1 test bench at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Lampoldshausen.
The 180kN Vinci engine is designed for the upper liquid-propulsion module of the launcher, which can be deployed for a variety of missions. Development tests will include engine burns of up to 1,000 seconds, compared with 900 seconds in flight. This M5R test phase will last until September 2016.
Airbus Safran Launchers — equally owned by Airbus Defence and Space and Safran — is the prime contractor for Ariane 6, whose initial launch is scheduled for 2020. The two ASL partners recently reached a financial agreement paving the way for the second phase of the merger process, turning ASL into a “fully fledged operational company”.