Avio has tested the first casing for the P120C solid propellant motor that will serve as the first stage of the Vega C and as the booster of the future Ariane 6.
Avio has successfully completed operational testing for the first P120C casing at its Colleferro facility. The P120C is the largest monolithic carbon-fibre solid propellant motor in the world. It is designed to serve both as the first stage of the Vega C and as the booster of the future Ariane 6, set for their first launch in 2019 and 2020.
The carbon fibre casing, which will contain 141t of solid propellant, was produced at the Avio facility in Colleferro, using advanced fibre placement and filament winding technologies, with a composite material specifically designed and produced by Avio for space applications.
Mechanical tests were carried out using a platform specifically designed and built to simulate the conditions of a space launch: pressurization inside the combustion chamber, engine thrust and mechanical loads resulting from the launcher’s operational phases.
The instrumented casing was subjected to a test cycle up to the maximum engine operating pressure as well as a series of axial load cycles, which demonstrated that the prototype fully corresponded to engineering predictions for its mechanical behaviour.
The motor will now be sent to the facilities in French Guiana for the first loading of inert propellant at the Regulus plant, following which motor integration tests will be performed at Europropulsion.