A new test bench for the new Vega E engine

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Tuesday, October 5e Avio has inaugurated the space propulsion test facility on the experimental field for the joint training of Salto di Quirra in Perdasdefogu, Sardinia. This event, combined with the signing of a € 118.8 million contract with ESA, allows Avio to envision the next generation of European rocket: Vega E.

The Space Propulsion Test Facility is a unique European center of excellence, which enables the development of new technologies for the rocket industry in the near future. One of the most important features of the facility is the LRE (Liquid Rocket Engine) test bench, which will be used to develop and test the new M10 liquid fuel engine. The CEO of Avio, Giulio Ranzo, as well as the lieutenant-general of the Italian air force Davide Marzinotto, the president of the Regional Council of Sardinia Michele Pais, the brigadier general of the army Francesco Olla, the president from the Italian Space Agency Giorgio Saccoccia and the Director of the European Space Agency for Space Transportation Stefano Bianco attended the event.

The inauguration of the SPTF LRE test bench marks the conclusion of the first phase of the project, which will be followed by the construction of carbon-carbon infrastructure.

The maiden flight of the new Vega C rocket is scheduled for Q1 2022, but Avio and ESA are already eagerly awaiting the next evolution of the Vega rocket family. A new launcher will join the family in the years to come: Vega E (Evolution).

The objective with Vega E is to further increase the competitiveness and performance of Vega C. This will increase its flexibility in terms of mass and payload volume and reduce the cost of the launch service and overall the launch cost per kilo. offered on the market.

Vega E will have three stages unlike Vega-C and Vega, who have four. The first two stages will be the same as those of Vega C: the solid rocket engine P120C, which provides an average thrust of 4,500 kN and the second stage, also a solid rocket engine Zefiro 40, which provides an average thrust of 1 304 kN.

The new third floor will replace respectively the third and upper floors of Vega and Vega C, Zefiro 9 and AVUM. Upstairs is the M10, which is equipped with an expansion cycle motor that can be restarted multiple times. In 2020, the M10’s large-scale 3D printed thrust chamber passed its first hot shot test. The engine is supplied with liquid, with liquid oxygen (LOX) and methane, providing 98 kN of thrust.

The new engine will reduce emissions and combustion waste, which will improve its environmental sustainability. Later this year, the engine will be tested again at the Space Propulsion Test Facility.

Industries and universities from eleven countries are involved in the development of the Vega-E launch system. The prime contractor, Avio, will develop with partners the launch system and its subsystems as well as the preliminary design of the future Vega E launch pad and associated infrastructure at the Guyanese Space Center in Kourou, French Guyana. .

Last summer, Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, and Daniel Neuenschwander, director of space transport at ESA, signed a contract, worth 118.8 million euros, at the site of the ESA ESRIN in Frascati, Italy. The agreement allows the development of the new rocket to continue.


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