ESA rocket motor successfully tested

December 21, 2005

The first firing test of the European Space Agency's Vega Zefiro 9 third-stage solid rocket motor was successful, ESA officials in Paris said Wednesday.

The Zefiro 9 motor, with a propellant mass of 10 tons, provides a maximum thrust of 67,100 pounds (305 kiloNewtons).

For the test at Salto de Quirra in southeast Sardinia, the nozzle was adapted for sea-level conditions by lowering the thrust to 61,600 pounds (280 kN). The motor was placed in a cage-like structure and fixed to the bench bastion, officials said, adding safety devices were put in place to destroy the motor in case of anomalous behavior.

A second test next September will be with combustion velocity at its upper limit.

When the Vega rocket makes its qualification flight at the end of 2007, Zefiro 9 will enable its payload to continue ascent into a low elliptical trajectory, bringing the spacecraft to Mach 13.3 -- the highest Mach number the launcher will reach, helped by the lack of gravity above the Earth's atmosphere.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Second firing test for Vega's Zefiro 9A solid rocket motor

Related Stories

Vega's second stage motor roars to life

June 26, 2006

ESA's Vega small satellite launch vehicle has made a new step toward its maiden flight, late next year, with the success of the first firing test on its second stage motor, the Zefiro 23.

Successful qualification firing test for Zefiro 23

March 31, 2008

On 27 March 2008, the second stage motor for Vega - Europe's new small launcher - successfully completed a static firing test at the Salto Di Quirra Inter-force Test Range in Sardinia, Italy.

Successful firing of Vega’s first-stage motor in Kourou

November 30, 2006

The largest European mono-segment filament-wound case solid propellant motor ever developed came to life at 12:30 Kourou time today (15:30 UT) when it was ignited for its first static firing test at the Guiana Space Centre, ...

Building Vega meant testing materials to their limits

March 13, 2012

When the first of Europe’s Vega rockets thundered skywards on 13 February, it was a new design based on some novel materials. Such novelty called for rigorous technical risk management by ESA’s materials specialists.

Recommended for you

Cells lacking nuclei struggle to move in 3-D environments

January 20, 2018

University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have revealed new details of how the physical properties of the nucleus influence how cells can move around different environments - such as ...

Information engine operates with nearly perfect efficiency

January 19, 2018

Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine's efficiency ...

New research challenges existing models of black holes

January 19, 2018

Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has collaborated on a new study that expands the scientific community's understanding of black holes in our galaxy ...

Team takes a deep look at memristors

January 19, 2018

In the race to build a computer that mimics the massive computational power of the human brain, researchers are increasingly turning to memristors, which can vary their electrical resistance based on the memory of past activity. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.