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ArianeGroup to Hot-Fire Test First Nozzle for Ariane 6 Booster

By | April 5, 2018

ArianeGroup’s P120 solid rocket motor engine. Photo: ArianeGroup.

The first nozzle of the P120 solid rocket motor common to the future European launchers Ariane 6 and Vega C has just left for the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, ArianeGroup announced. Engineers will fit the nozzle to the body of the booster intended for the first firing test on the solid rocket booster test stand this summer.

ArianeGroup teams designed the nozzle at the Le Haillan site near Bordeaux, France. The P120 solid rocket motor, of which ArianeGroup will produce 35 per year, will power both the future Ariane 62 (two boosters) and Ariane 64 (four boosters), as well as the first stage of Vega C.

It contains 142 metric tons of solid propellant, its lift-off thrust can reach 400 tons, and runs for a total of 130 seconds during flight. The motor can also pivot to help pilot the launcher. According to ArianeGroup, the nozzle contributes to meeting the goals of the Ariane 6 and Vega C programs: optimized costs and shorter production cycles due to a simplified design.

ArianeGroup will test the P120 motor this summer, after which two other test stand firings will follow to qualify the component before Vega C’s first flight in 2019 and Ariane 6’s in 2020.

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