The static firing was performed today, 26 June, at the Italian Ministry of Defence test centre in Salto di Quirra, Sardinia. The 7.5m tall, 2m diameter motor, featuring a carbon epoxy filament wound casing, delivered more than 100 metric tons of thrust (1,070 kN), burning some 24 metric tons of solid propellant in 75 seconds.
Numerous data were gathered during the test and are now under analysis to improve technical knowledge of the motor’s behaviour and refine the launcher’s future performance. Also tested during the firing were various subsystems, including a thrust vector control system that will steer the motor’s nozzle to provide flight control. After this success, the motor will proceed with its critical design review, at which stage its technical characteristics will be finalised.
Built by Avio in Colleferro, near Rome, the Zefiro 23 motor will be the basis for the second stage of ESA’s Vega launcher. The first firing test with the third stage motor – the Zefiro 9 – was performed in December 2005. Conducted on behalf of ESA’s Vega development programme, these two firing tests followed three static firings of the Zefiro 16 demonstrator in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Both the Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9 will undergo an additional ground firing test each to complete their development and qualification.
“The Zefiro 23 is one of the largest composite casing solid rocket motors ever test fired in Western Europe,” noted Antonio Fabrizi, ESA’s director of launchers, “but it will be dwarfed shortly, when we will fire Vega’s first stage motor, the P80, with its 88 tons of propellant, in Kourou, French Guiana, in November.”
“With this new motor firing, the Vega programme has passed another milestone in good time,” continued Fabrizi, “and I praise our industrial team as well as our partner the Italian Space Agency, for this achievement. Now let’s proceed and make sure we will be able to meet our schedule for the next phases.”
The first Vega flight is currently set for the end of 2007 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Under development since 1998 with the support of seven ESA Member States (Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden), ESA’s Vega small satellite launcher is an all-solid three-stage vehicle with a liquid-fuelled injection module. ELV SpA, a joint venture of Avio and ASI, the Italian Space Agency, was delegated the responsibility for Vega development. CNES, the French space agency, holds similar responsibility for the P80 first stage.
Vega is designed to loft single or multiple payloads to orbits up to 1,500 km in altitude. Its baseline payload capability is about 1,500 kg to a circular 700-km high sun-synchronous orbit but it can also loft satellites from 300 kg to more than 2 metric tonnes, as well as piggyback microsatellites. This range of performance covers the needs for multiple applications in the fields of remote sensing, environmental monitoring, Earth science, space science, fundamental science and research and technology for future space applications and systems. Once qualified, Vega will be marketed and operated by Arianespace, as a complement to Ariane 5 and Soyuz, and will address the small satellite launch market.
ESA media relations office | alfa
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences