Large-scale test stands
Rocket engine test stands
P5, PF50 and P5.2
Large-scale test stands play an essential role in the aerospace industry. Components are subject to stringent safety and load tests.
S.E.A. is an established supplier for the laboratory area, integration, validation tests, as well as test stand control in the aerospace sector. We develop, plan or modernize test facilities for aerospace propulsion systems for you.
Development of the MCC for the Ariane P5, PF50 and P5.2 engine test stands
The MCC Measurement Command and Control System is the core of the test stand
This is where all the signals are monitored and the tests are carried out that qualify the engine for flight or a test. The engine is divided functionally into operator level (user interface and functions), data management level (data server and functions) and front-end level.
Meet current and all future requirements
The MCC was renewed in a consortium with two other companies, Cegelec Infra Technics and Werum Software und Systems AG, initially at the P5 test stand at DLR in Lampoldshausen and at the PF50 test stand at ArianeGroup in Vernon. On the same basis, the MCC for the P5.2 upper stage test stand in Lampoldshausen was completely rebuilt.
The challenge here was to create a system that meets the requirements and capabilities of the existing test stand 100% and is also prepared to meet future requirements and expansions that will be made to this test stand. Since commissioning, the Vulcain 2 and Vulcain 2.1 engines have now already been tested. The high requirements are met by continuous further development, migration to current software versions and the following qualification.
Upper stage test stand P5.2
Upper stage test stand P5.2 at DLR in Lampoldshausen
Image: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Following the renovation of the P5 in 2008 and the PF50 in 2013, the P5.2 upper stage test stand in 2017 was the first completely refitted test stand. At the new P5.2 test stand, the rocket upper stage will undergo a test program over several months in order to be qualified for the planned flight in 2022. DLR designed and built the P5.2 test stand specifically to test the Ariane 6 upper stage. The upper stage consists of the Vinci engine, which can be ignited several times, the tanks for liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, lines, valves and the electronic and hydraulic control and monitoring systems.
Demonstrator engine Prometheus
The first Prometheus demonstrator engine will be validated at the P5 test facility at DLR in Lampoldshausen in 2022 on behalf of the space company ArianeGroup.
Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
German Aerospace Center (DLR) Lampoldshausen
The Vulcain 2 engine of the Ariane 5 launcher during a test run at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
which we meet with experience and flexibility
We face a wide range of technical requirements, which lead to new challenges every time and are coordinated with the customer during design reviews, and where the results are tested and accepted according to space requirements.
Here, not only is the project team an international consortium of companies from Belgium and Germany, but the collaboration on the test benches also links teams from France and Germany.
The project language is English, French and German.
The test stands for the engines of the Ariane launcher have a 24/7 availability requirement.
This is already given by the fact that the cryogenic tanks are constantly filled and have to be monitored. Thus, one of the three redundant systems must always be available.
The new MCC is designed for a service life of more than 20 years. This requires not only maintenance and care of the existing hardware, but also continuous adaptation of the software to the state of the art. This means that future requirements can also be easily integrated.
What our customers say
Several ESA test stands for rocket engines are operated at DLR’s Lampoldshausen site, within the framework of the Ariane projects.
The cooperation with the company S.E.A. started in 2007 under quite time-critical boundary conditions. A comprehensive set of synoptics – based on LabVIEW – was required for a complex redundant real-time computer system at the P5 test stand. This know-how did not come by chance, because S.E.A. already had practical experience with aerospace projects. It was the start of a success story, because the technical expertise was and still is impressive to this day and we write the year 2022. The delivered software was extensively tested and always met our expectations.
Particularly noteworthy is the response time, the quality of the work and the technical support.
Why you should choose us
After analyzing the requirements, we create a concept that is exactly tailored to the customer’s needs. In the case of an existing test stand, we also take into account the existing components and, if necessary, develop special hardware components that are needed to solve the task.
The fulfillment of our customer’s requirements is our top priority. Therefore, the specification phase and the exact understanding of the requirements are particularly important. Here, the goal must be in the focus and the best way has to be worked out together with the customer.
The actual work only begins with the commissioning and handover of the control system to the customer. This is the decisive phase in the project, as it is here that the customer experiences the interaction of all components for the first time. Especially in this phase, the customer needs competent contact persons. We support in every phase of the project with mission support, maintenance, change management and enhancements.
Large-scale test stands have been part of our portfolio for more than 25 years. Rocket test stands already more than 15 years. Our engineers and scientists come from various fields and are competent partners in software and hardware development. Furthermore we strengthen ourselves by partners, if this is meaningful in the project.
The history of ArianeGroup begins with France’s first space program “Pierres Précieuses” and continues with the success story of the Ariane launchers. Thanks to continuous further developments, these have secured Europe the leading position in the market for civil launch vehicles and for the transport of commercial satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) for almost half a century. Since 1971, ArianeGroup has also supplied the missiles for the naval component of the French nuclear forces as part of a historic support contract. The company’s teams play a central role in all phases of the naval component’s modernization.
The DLR-site Lampoldshausen
At its Lampoldshausen site, DLR has expertise that is unique in Europe in the field of developing and operating rocket engine test stands. Over the past 60 years, the Institute of Space Propulsion (Institut für Raumfahrtantriebe), which is located here, has developed into an important partner for European space travel with its current workforce of around 250 employees.