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Spacecraft Propulsion - Lampoldshausen, Germany

European specialists in propulsion systems, thrusters and apogee engines for spacecraft and orbital satellites.

Lampoldshausen Centre

ASL's space propulsion division, Munich.
ASL's Lampoldshausen facility located within the German Aerospace Centre (DLR)

The Lampoldshausen Centre specialises in the design, development, manufacture, and testing of thrusters, apogee engines and complete propulsion systems for:


  • Orbital satellites.
  • Interplanetary space probes.
  • Platforms.
  • Re-entry vehicles.
  • Automated logistics vehicles.
  • Upper stage AOCS systems.
  • Launch vehicle roll control systems.


Expertise is within the fields of ion, cold gas, hydrazine and bipropellant thrusters ranging from 0.02 N to 400 N thrust.


Our propulsion experts are committed to delivering our customers a complete portfolio around orbital propulsion, starting from engineering support to system architecture and design up to post launch LEOP and IOT support.


A complete orbital propulsion portfolio


Supporting our customers with a complete propulsion portfolio



Spacecraft Propulsion Systems

Spacecraft propulsion heritage
Supplying hundreds of international spacecraft with propulsion systems, thrusters, tanks and apogee motors

Amongst many notable achievements, the Lampoldshausen team pioneered the development of the first Unified Propulsion System (UPS). This modular system features a liquid apogee boost engine and AOCS thrusters supplied by propellant from a common propellant tank system. The UPS has now become a standard optimised propulsion kit for major satellites.


An insight into hundreds of propulsion systems and sub-systems supplied to our international customers, since the 1960's to the present time, is given in the Online Heritage Catalogue


Examples of the different types of spacecraft propulsion systems developed, manufactured, tested and produced at the Lampoldshausen Centre are featured in the Lampoldshausen Showcase.

Propulsion Sub-System and Components

Sub-systems and components are supplied either off-the-shelf or tailored to customer specific requirements. Typical sub-systems and components include:


Launch Vehicle and Upper Stage ACS

Integration of ACS thruster into the Ariane 5 avionics bay
Integration of the hydrazine AOCS into the Ariane 5 VEB

The Lampoldshausen centre also supplies the 400 N Attitude Control System (ACS) used on Ariane 5. The ACS is based on clusters of 400 N hydrazine thrusters located about the Vehicle Equipment (avionics) Bay.


The VEB autonomously manages all systems required for launch vehicle flight control, including engine ignition, booster and upper stage separation. The VEB remains with the upper stage after separation to command orbital flight control.


The functions of the ACS include roll and pitch control of the launcher after jettisoning of the solid rocket boosters. Thereafter, the same ACS is used for fine control manoeuvres and precision upper stage orientation before separation of one or more payloads.

Automated Transfer Vehicle

Automated transfer vehicle approaching the international space station
ATV approaching the ISS

Amongst current responsibilities, the Lampoldshausen team supply much of the propulsion system and hot-fire test services for the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) - the first fully automated spaceship of its kind.


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 (PCA).
  • Propellant Isolation Assembly (PIA).
  • Attitude control thruster clusters (ACS and FACS).


The maiden flight of the ATV, named 'Jules Verne', was launched in March 2008 on an ES ATV version of Ariane 5.

Hot-fire Testing

Vulcain 2 rocket engine on hot-fire test stand
Vulcain 2 rocket engine on the P3 test stand at Lampoldshausen

Hot-fire testing of rocket engines, thrusters and complete propulsion systems is performed at the Lampoldshausen Test Centre.


The rocket engine test facilities at Lampoldshausen is an integral part of ASL's propulsion division and is the European site for liquid propellant rocket engine and advance propulsion testing. The site is located at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and is the propulsion test centre supporting programmes of the European Space Agency.


The centre provides a range of facilities for vacuum, high altitude and sea level testing using earth storable and cryogenic propellants.