Avio: Vega’s motors qualify but maiden launch slips to 2010

by | Apr 29, 2009 | Seradata News | 0 comments

P80_vega.jpg

credit Avio / caption how far is the slip into 2010? 

The qualification and certification phase for the three solid propellant engines for Vega has been passed with flying colours, says Avio’s press release, but it also gives 2010 as the maiden flight date; a slip that European Space Agency director general Jean-Jacques Dordain said might happen when in January he gave a November, December 2009 target timeframe for the first flight. The rest of the Avio press release says 

The last engine, the third stage of the new European Vega launcher, Zefiro 9, manufactured by Avio, has completed all the qualification stages and is now ready, together with Zefiro 23 and P-80, for the production stage, after which propellant will be loaded and the engines will be shipped to French Guyana where they will be assembled for the first launch planned for 2010

The firing test took place at the Interforce Firing Range of Salto di Quirra in Sardinia and confirmed the expected performance of the engine.  It will be the last to be activated after the first and second stages, and will carry in 120 seconds the Vega from an altitude of 110 km to 146 km above the earth’s surface.

The three solid propellant engines constructed by Avio will provide the main propulsion for the Vega launcher.

The structure of the first stage of the Vega, the P80 engine, in a few days will leave the plant in Colleferro (Rome) for French Guyana.  After a sea voyage lasting twenty days the propellant will be loaded at the Regulus plant (Avio Group) on the Kourou Space Base. The engine casing is constructed by Avio using the new carbon fibre technology. It is lightweight and, thanks to special internal thermal protection, able to withstand extremely high temperatures and pressure. A further evolution in this fibre is being studied with IMAST, the technological District on Materials Engineering and Structures based in Campania (Italy).

This paves the way for the construction phase of the European Vega launcher, the first to be assigned by the European Space Agency entirely to an Italian company.
Avio, which develops and produces the launcher through its subsidiary ELV, is the prime contractor for 40 European companies and continues to occupy a leading position in the European space sector representing Italian high technology.  The highlight of the ESA’s current programme is the feather in the cap of the Italian industry, and through Avio Italy plays a leading role in the European launcher market. 

P80:
This is the first stage of the Vega launcher. It is the largest one-piece solid-propellant engine ever built using Filament Winding technology. The first bench test was performed successfully in late 2006 at the Kourou Space Base in French Guyana, and then confirmed in late 2007 when the engine passed the qualification test with flying colours, also in French Guyana.

Zefiro 23:
This is the second stage of the Vega launcher. It is also constructed using Filament Winding technology and successfully passed the first bench test at the Experimental Firing Range of Salto di Quirra in Sardinia in mid 2006.  The firing qualification test was carried out at the end of March 2008, again at the Interforce Firing Range of Salto di Quirra in Sardinia.

Zefiro 9:
This is the third stage of the Vega launcher. Produced using Filament Winding technology, this was the first engine to be successfully fired at the bench test performed at the Experimental Firing Range of Salto di Quirra in Sardinia at the end of 2005.  The qualification firing test, which was performed in early 2007, was not successful owing to a nozzle defect that has now been resolved. The qualification firing test held on 28 April confirmed the favourable outcome of the Zefiro 9A which was upgraded in late 2008.

AVIO
A leader in the aerospace sector, founded in 1908, Avio is present in Italy and abroad (USA, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, France, French Guyana) with 18 plants and over 5500 employees. In 2008 company turnover exceeded 1,600 million Euro.  Avio engages in four main business sectors, including both civil and military fields: Aeronautics, Space, MR&O and Services, Marine and Aeroderivative.
Aeronautics: Avio designs and produces modules and components for propulsion systems for aircraft and helicopters. Avio is national champion in aeroengines and world leader in mechanical transmissions.
 
Space: Avio is European leader in the development and manufacture of solid propellant motors for space propulsion, and is Prime Contractor for the new European space launcher, Vega. Furthermore, the Company develops and manufactures tactical propulsion systems.
MR&O and Services: Avio carries out the maintenance and repair of aeroengines, and management services for aircraft and helicopter propulsion systems.
Marine and Aeroderivatives: Avio supplies aeroderivative turbine motors and automation systems for marine and industrial applications and for electricity production.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Vega suffers launch failure losing two payloads after anomaly following upper stage ignition

The Arianespace light-launcher Vega has suffered another launch failure, despite returning with a successful launch in September after a failure Read more

Arianespace Vega VV16 launch makes successful multi-sat delivery as part of Small Spacecraft Mission Service

A much delayed multi-satellite launch by a Vega small launch vehicle successfully put 53 small satellites into orbit with the Read more

Vega launch failure caused by thermo-mechanical failure of dome part of Zefiro-23 second stage but exact mechanism remains a mystery

An investigation has revealed the cause of the Vega launch failure on flight VV15, which lost the Falcon Eye 1 Read more

Vega second stage ignition failure dooms UAE’s spysat costing insurers over US$400 million

Launch vehicles usually have their first failure during their first ten flights, but the Avio-built Arianespace-operated Vega launch vehicle waited Read more

SEOSat/Ingenio to fly on Vega

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA/Earth Observation Programs directorate) have signed launch services contract for the launch on a Read more

ESAIL to fly on Vega as will StriX-Alpha later

Arianespace has announced that it has been selected by exactEarth to launch the 110 kg ESAIL satellite using a Vega Read more

First Vega launch of the year orbits Italian PRISMA spacecraft

Lifting-off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 0151 GMT on 22 March, an Arianespace Vega light-lift launch vehicle carried the Italian-made Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website

Categories

Archives