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Space Propulsion Test Services

Overview of the hot firing and environmental test capabilities at Airbus Space Systems, Lampoldshausen, Germany.

2.5kN hydrazine thruster firing test under sea level conditions. 2.5kN hydrazine thruster firing test under sea level conditions
Bipropellant combustion chamber development test under sea level conditions. Bipropellant combustion chamber development test under sea level conditions

The test facilities at Lampoldshausen is 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.

 

Hot Firing Tests

The Lampoldshausen test facilities perform the hot firing testing of:
Bullet. Satellite thrusters and rocket engines in the range of 1N to 3000N (Hydrazine, MMH, NTO).
Bullet. Complete propulsion systems (ATV, MSG).
Bullet. Launcher upper stages (Vinci, Aestus, VEGA AVUM).
Bullet. Launcher roll control systems (A5 SCA, VEGA RACS).

 

Hot firing tests are conducted in vacuum and sea-level test facilities having the
following characteristics:

  • State of the art HF (64 channel a 102kSa/s) and LF data acquisition system, control and safety equipment.
  • 2 to 3 cycle vacuum system (separated exhaust & ambient).
  • Performance of mission profile.
  • Blow down and pressure regulated operational modes.
  • Flexible and modular test set ups.
  • 2 test slidable positions (horizontal or vertical firing with thrust measurement).
  • Horizontal or vertical firing with thrust measurement.
  • Simultaneous firing of thruster clusters.
  • Characterisation via Pc, Mprop, Temperatures (120 NiCr-Ni).
  • Automatic sequences for firing, bracket cooling, etc.
  • 2 Positions for simultaneous / independent firings (5-400N).
  • 4 Positions for simultaneous / independent firings (1N).
  • High vacuum facilities for EP.

Environmental System Tests

Airbus Space Systems provides support for Spacecraft System environmental tests according to customer requirements such as:

1. Vibration tests

  • Pressurisation of helium tanks with simulation gas (Argon).
  • Loading / unloading of propellant tanks with simulation liquid (IPA, HFE7100, deion, water).
  • Drying of propellant tanks to specified value of concentration.
  • Reconfiguration of helium tanks (pressurisation).

 

2. Thermal vacuum tests

  • Conditioning of the propulsion system for tests.
  • Pressurisation by He or N2.a.

 

3. Final tests before transport to the launch site
Overall leak test of propulsion system.
Final verification of functionality.
End-to-end test of system with spacecraft telemetry/telecommand.

Propulsion System Test Support

Based on our comprehensive experience in hypergolic and electric propulsion systems, our team is involved in all component, subsystem and system tests for propulsion systems:

  • Development and qualification as well as incoming inspection tests for components (electrical, mechanical)
  • Acceptance tests in-house and on customer sites world wide (throughout Europe, Israel, Argentina, Turkey, South Korea.
  • Support during technical interventions (exchange of components, etc.), anomalies, trouble shooting from component to system level.
  • Re-entry vehicles.

Test Facilities for Satellite Thrusters, Rocket Engines and Propulsion Systems

 

Bi-propellant vacuum test facility for satellite propulsion.
Bi-propellant vacuum test facility for satellite propulsion
Hydrazine vacuum test facility for satellite propulsion.
Hydrazine vacuum test facility for satellite propulsion

 

Vega small launcher stage test facility at Lampoldshausen.
VEGA UCFIRE stage test facility
ATV propulsion test facility.
ATV propulsion system test facility