Before the future Ariane 6 lifts off the pad in 2020, its new engine must first be put through its paces. The Vinci M6 qualification model has undergone a hot-fire test at full thrust for 400 seconds and then 210 seconds, operating the engine’s flight actuators for the first time during test 06. The tests were conducted by the German space agency DLR on its P4.1 test stand in Lampoldhausen. The thrust vector control (TVC) system that steers the engine’s nozzle performed well. The actuators will ensure that Vinci is pointing correctly to maintain Ariane 6’s upper stage on its flight trajectory.
This Vinci M6 engine is scheduled to complete 7 more tests in Germany.
At the same time, another Vinci engine test—test 04 of the M5RB campaign—was conducted at ArianeGroup (formerly Airbus Safran Launchers) on the PF52 test stand at its facility in Vernon. Five hot-fire tests, including one lasting a record 855 seconds, were run to operate the engine in degraded conditions, notably with hot hydrogen, a key parameter for cryogenic engines.
Engineers are now sifting through the data gleaned from these tests.