New RDTT for Vega-C and Ariane 6
Yesterday, at the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana, the P120C solid propellant rocket engine (RDTT) passed successful tests , which are planned to be used as a cruise missile on promising Vega-C (from 2019) and Ariane 6 (from 2020) missiles.
Thus, the next control point in the plans of the ESA to create launch vehicles of a new generation has been achieved, thanks to which Europe expects to continue to successfully compete in the space launch market, as well as maintain its own autonomy in this area.
Burnout lasted for 140 seconds to simulate the duration of the full cycle from start to separation of the first stage; the engine at the same time developed draft in 4650 kN. According to the ESA, no deviations were detected in the installation, and all the parameters corresponded to the calculated ones, however, the final conclusions will be formulated only after a full-scale analysis of the experimental data, which will take several months.
P120C is a pipe made of carbon composites 3.4 meters in diameter and 13.5 meters long, made as a single unit. It is assumed that it will replace the engine P80, currently used as the first stage of the Vega-C PH. For Ariane 6, however, they will use two or four P120C as starting accelerators.
The tests were organized as a result of the joint work of ESA, the French agency CNES and the company Europropulsion, which is a joint venture of Avio and Ariane Group.
The next test of the P120C, after which engine certification is expected, is scheduled for the end of the current year.