Under the aegis of the European Space Agency (ESA) and under the responsibility of the French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the “Société Européenne de Propulsion” (S.E.P.) has developed systems including the engines of the three stages of the Ariane European launchers for twenty years. Several engine simplement a large use of cryogenic propellants, including liquid an gaseous oxygen.
The selection of materials for propulsion components operating in an oxygen environment — valves, pumps, transducers, etc. — requires a strict methodology.
On Vulcain, the main engine of Ariane V launcher for the Hermes space shuttle, SEP, as prime contractor, has developed a working method in coordination with its 27 European project partners to select and test materials.
We will present the application of this method for the gas generator valves of the Vulcain engine: • material choice according to foreseen risks, • laboratory choice and testing procedure (L'AIR LIQUIDE), • results and conclusions.(1) Manager, Raw Materials and Process Research Société Européenne de Propulsion - Materials and Testing Laboratory VERNON, FRANCE (2) Leader Engineer, Vulcain gas generator valves Société Européenne de Propulsion - Design Department VERNON, FRANCE (3) L'Air Liquide - Manager Center - Operational Development Division - Technology and Testing Center - LE BLANC MESNIL, FRANCE