Vinci (rocket engine)
|Country of origin||France|
|Designer||Airbus Safran Launchers|
|Manufacturer||Airbus Safran Launchers|
|Application||Upper stage liquid rocket booster|
|Propellant||LOX / LH2|
|Thrust (vac.)||180 kN (40,470 lbf)|
|Chamber pressure||6.08 MPa (60.8 bar)|
|Isp (vac.)||465 s (4.56 km/s)|
approx. 550 kgwithout nozzle: 160 kg
Vinci is an expander cycle rocket engine fed with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Its biggest improvement from its predecessor, the HM7B (which powers the ESC-A), is the capability of restarting up to five times. It is also the first European expander cycle engine, removing the need for a gas generator to drive the fuel and oxidizer pumps. The engine features a carbon ceramic extendable nozzle in order to have a large, 2.15 m diameter nozzle extension with minimum length: the retracted nozzle part is deployed only after the upper stage separates from the rest of the rocket; after extension, the engine's overall length increases from 2.3 m to 4.2 m.
Although the ESC-B development was put on hold in 2003, the Vinci project has not been cancelled: at a lower pace, the engine is still being developed. On 22 December 2006, Snecma announced a new ESA contract for Vinci rocket engine long-duration and re-ignition testing. In late April 2010 the German Aerospace Center DLR announced the start of a six-month test campaign for the Vinci engine at its Lampoldshausen facility. The first successful test firing of this campaign took place on 27 May 2010. The first flight test of the Vinci engine is not expected until 2016 or 2017.
In 2014, NASA interested with the idea of using the Vinci instead of the RL10 for an upper stage of Space Launch System. The Vinci offers the same specific impulse but with 64% greater thrust, which would allow for a reduction of one or two of the four second stage engines for the same performance for a lower cost.
References and notes
- "Launch Vehicle Propulsion – Vinci". EADS SPACE Transportation. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- "VINCI Thrust Chamber Cryogenic Upper Stage" (PDF). EADS SPACE Transportation. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
- Decourt, Rémy (2005-05-24). "Ariane 5: EADS veut geler le développement de la version 12 tonnes" (in French). Futura-Sciences.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- "Snecma announces new ESA contract for Vinci rocket engine". www.safran-group.com. 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- "Vinci – tests on the high-thrust, cryogenic, restartable upper stage engine for Ariane 5 gather pace".
- "First test of Vinci M3 engine a success!".