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United Kingdom : AIRBUS DEFENCE and SPACE engineers develops new upper-stage engine demonstrator.

Airbus Defence and Space engineers have built a new upper-stage engine demonstrator, as commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA). Although engines that operate on storable fuel are a core ability of German-European aerospace engineering, none are presently being developed in the three to eight kilonewton thrust class. Outcomes of the lately concluded test campaign show the engine fulfills all the needs to substitute other models presently in service, such as on the Vega rocket.

Dinitrogen tetroxide (NTO) was used for the first time to cool one section of the combustion chamber by the team, during testing. This had never been done in Europe before, said Torben Birck, a systems engineer at Airbus Defence and Space. They cooled another section of the combustion chamber using monomethylhydrazine (MMH). MMH and NTO ignite on contact with each other, so no separate ignition is needed, is the benefit of using this combination of fuels. Both substances can be stored at room temperature. The injection elements and the absorber were also redesigned by the team.

Torben said, Our hope now is that ESA will grant us a development contract. Now that we have proof of what the engine can do, the outlook is good.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Dec 20, 2014
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