ESA’s Ariane 6 and Vega-C will soon join a family of launch cars working from the European Spaceport in French Guiana to ensure more opportunities for Europe to get in the air. The P120C engine, which powers the Ariane 6 and Vega-C, will soon begin production with the Vega-C aircraft.
The ‘C’ stands for ‘normal’ because the P120C will be used as the first layer of Vega-C and two or four will be used as the cable reinforcement for the Ariane 6. The cars are an important part of European industry. This strategy reduced development costs, benefits from the economy, and created an opportunity for Europe to increase employment.
The P120C car is ESA’s new power boost. The P120C will fire for about 130 seconds using 142 tons of fuel to deliver a boost of about 4500 kN. It was developed by Europropulsion, a joint venture of Avio and ArianeGroup.
The P120C is 13.5 m long and 3.4 m in diameter. Its 25 cm-thick monolithic box is made using carbon steel at Avio in Italy. ArianeGroup in France developed the high -end P120C nozzle, while Nammo in Norway provided the igniter. Good working practices have shortened labor cycles and increased costs.
Increased power for competitive performance with the P120C +
Plans are underway for a powerful powerhouse for this car, called the P120C +. Increased employment and competition will better respond to growing industry demands and industries that demand versatility improvements.
With an additional 14 t of propellant fixed in a tank expanded by about one meter, the P120C + is able to increase charge power. This makes the Ariane 6 and Vega-C more competitive, increasing the amount of missionary time. The new car will replace the P120C for use on the Ariane 6 and Vega-C.
The P120C + project is part of the ideas submitted for consideration at the ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level in 2022.
“The P120C fixed engine will allow the Ariane 6 and Vega-C to leave the Earth. With the P120C + we will further improve the start-up capabilities and cost-effectiveness of the two release engines, further improving providing advertising services for European missionaries, ”said Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation.