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Space Propulsion Systems for Orbital Satellites and Spacecraft

Rocket engines, propulsion systems, thrusters, propellant tanks and components for the access, utilisation and exploration of space.

Airbus Safran Launchers

For many years, Airbus and Safran have been close complementary partners in the launcher business, with an unrivaled series of successful Ariane launches for over a decade. In 2014, Airbus and Safran decided to join together in combining their launcher and propulsion system skills, resources and industrial assets into a single company. By 2016, the final step was accomplished enabling the creation of Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), which became fully operational on 1st July 2016.


Airbus Safran Launchers is equally owned, combining Airbus Defence and Space’s expertise in launchers (especially in France and Germany), and Safran’s expertise in liquid and solid rocket propulsion. The partnership represents a fusion of excellence providing exceptional capabilities in Europe, for both civil and military launchers.


The initiative capitalises on the preparatory activities undertaken during the last two years under the leadership of the European Space Agency (ESA), the French Space Agency (CNES) and the German Space Agency (DLR) in line with the guidelines set by the ESA ministerial conference in November 2012.


The new partnership will further reinforce the successful track record of Arianespace and the Ariane family by further increasing efficiency and competitiveness.


The creation of Airbus Safran Launchers opens a new chapter in the history of the launcher industry. Reflecting the joint ambition of Airbus Group and Safran to boost the European space industry to unscaled heights. The new company will employ around 8,000 staff and continue to develop innovative and competitive solutions by uniting the strengths of two leading contributors to modern launch vehicles.


Airbus Safran Launchers has become the lead contractor for Ariane 5 and by January 2016, had already made 7 successful launches seamlessly and without any difference felt by the customers.


Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and in July 2016, set a new record by launching two telecommunication satellites into geostationary orbit having a total mass of 10.73 tonnes. The previous record of 10.5 tonnes, was set in February 2013.


The company is also the lead contractor for Ariane 6 and is developing the new launcher under a contract signed with the European Space Agency on August 12, 2015.


The company's sites are Issy-les-Moulineaux, Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, Kourou (space center), Vernon, Le Haillan and Les Mureaux in France as well as Bremen, Lampoldshausen and Ottobrunn in Germany.


Orbital and space propulsion systems activities will also become part of Airbus Safran Launchers as well as thrusters, propellant tanks and propulsion system equipment and components.

Lampoldshausen - Spacecraft Propulsion

Series thruster production for spacecraft propulsion systems at Lampoldshausen. Series thruster production for spacecraft propulsion systems at Lampoldshausen

ASL Lampoldshausen is the European centre of competence for propulsion systems, bipropellant thrusters, hydrazine thrusters and liquid apogee engines for spacecraft and orbital satellites.


Propulsion systems, sub-systems and components from Lampoldshausen are used for a diverse range of satellite and spacecraft applications including orbital satellites, interplanetary spacecraft, re-entry vehicles and resupply missions to the International Space Station using the Automated Transfer Vehicle. Typical examples are featured in our Showcase


Thruster based propulsion systems from Lampoldshausen are also used for launch vehicle roll control and upper stage attitude control, as typically used on the Ariane 5 AOCS.


The Lampoldshausen centre also supplies the propulsion systems for hundreds of satellites and spacecraft launched by Ariane 5 and other international launch vehicles, as can be seen in the Spacecraft Propulsion Heritage Catalogue.

Automated Transfer Vehicle

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is an expendable, pressurised unmanned resupply spacecraft used to supply the International Space Station with propellant, water, air, payloads, and experiments. The ATV can also raise the space station into a higher orbit.

Five ATV's, Jules Verne, Johannes Kepler, Edoardo Amaldi, Albert Einstein and Georges Lemaître, have been launched by Ariane 5 since March 2008.


The ATV propulsion system comprises 4 x 490 N main engines and 28 x 200 N attitude control thrusters.
The Lampoldshausen centre is responsible for the production, integration and acceptance testing of the:


  • ATV propulsion module pressure control assemblies.
  • Propellant Isolation Assembly.
  • Attitude control and braking thruster clusters.


Automated Transfer Vehicle
EnlargeATV using thrust from Airbus Space Systems, Lampoldshausen


ORION Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)

Airbus Safran Launchers is responsible for the development and construction of the service module for Orion - the future American human space capsule.


The service module will provide propulsion, power supply, thermal control and the central elements of the life support system of the American capsule.


It is the first time that Europe has been involved in providing system-critical elements for an American space project. In December 2012, US space agency NASA and ESA agreed to certify the new US Orion spacecraft in conjunction with the European service module. This module is based on the design of and the experience gained from the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed and constructed byAirbus Safran Launcherson behalf of ESA as a supply craft for the International Space Station.


The 200N bipropellant thruster that was developed for the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) where it demonstrated its flawless performance on all mission, has been selected to fly in the Multipurpose Crew Vehicle.


ORION Service Module
ORION Service Module

Hot-fire testing of propulsion systems, thrusters and rocket engines

ASL Lampoldshausen is located within the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) The centre incorporates both company owned and ESA facilities for the testing of large rocket engines, thrusters, propulsion systems and subsystems.


Meteosat Propulsion System.
Meteosat Propulsion System


More information: Lampoldshausen Home

Propulsion for Any Space Mission

Propulsion for any space mission.
Propulsion for any space mission

Together, the Lampoldshausen and Bremen Centres supply all of the flight proven propulsive means for the access, utilisation and exploration of space.


We are able to provide thrust for any space mission or application through the use of our apogee engines, bipropellant thrusters, monopropellant thrusters, propellant tanks, ion engines, satellite propulsion systems and propulsion systems for interplanetary spacecraft.


Hot fire testing of our propulsion systems is carried out at the same site in Lampoldshausen. This is also the European site for rocket engine hot fire testing and environmental system tests. The site is located at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and is the propulsion test centre supporting programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA).


Today, our space propulsion developments continue with the future evolution of higher performing rocket engines and thrusters, new space technologies, new materials and new manufacturing processes and procedures.

Bremen - Spacecraft Propellant Tanks

Propellant tank selection. Propellant Tanks

Located in Bremen, North Germany, the Airbus Space Systems Production Centre for propellant tanks and related components is an organisational part of the Lampoldshausen Propulsion Centre.


For over 40 years, the Propulsion division in Bremen has been producing propellant tanks for scientific and commercial satellites, orbital platforms, space probes, interplanetary spacecraft, launch vehicle roll control systems and upper stage attitude and orbital control systems.


The Bremen facility is also well know for the integration of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle, booster integration of the Ariane launcher, upper stage integration of the bipropellant and cryogenic upper stages of Ariane 5, Rokot launch vehicle services, as well as integration of Europe's first manned spacecraft 'Spacelab'.


Today, the Bremen Production Centre is the European market leader for the design, manufacturing and supply of a diverse range of spacecraft propellant tanks, propellant management and acquisition devices and all tank related components and services. Propellant tank capacities range from 58 litres to over 1000 litres


The different types of propellant tank produced at the Bremen facility includes surface tension propellant tanks, diaphragm / bladder tanks, propellant tanks for spin stabilised spacecraft and high pressure tanks.

RESUS - Submarine Rescue Systems

RESUS submarine rescue system.

Our propellant technology is also used in gas generators for submarine rescue systems.


For over 25 years, RESUS (REscue system for SUbmarineS) has been the standard rescue system on all German submarines, as well as the submarines of other navies.


RESUS is more than a crew rescue system, since it enables the rapid buoyancy and rescue of an entire submarine from any depth.


RESUS functions independently of all onboard systems and therefore does not require electrical, mechanical, hydraulic or electrical power. The rescue system can be set to either manual, or automatic mode and can be initiated on demand and when the need arises.


RESUS provides a powerful and responsive safeguard to all kinds of submarine emergency situations which are especially life threatening, hazardous or potentially catastrophic when the craft is submerged.

Investing in the Future

To enhance future developments, a company owned test centre has been established for satellite and launcher propulsion.


Manufactuing and production centre for rocket engines and cryogenic valves
Manufacturing and production centre for rocket engines and cryogenic valves

Notable investments have also been made in the construction of a new rocket engine production centre for high performance machining, CNC and robotic manufacturing and specialist processes. Airbus DS has also invested a total of 17.5 Million Euros from its own funds into the Ottobrunn site.


Implementation of new technologies is supported by the Bavarian Research Foundation.


New technologies, notable investments and our heritage and passion for excellence will further reinforce our position as the European centre of competence for space propulsion.