Encyclopedia Astronautica
Vulcain 2

SEP, Ottobrunn lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1350 kN. In development. Isp=434s. New generator cycle rocket engine for an Ariane 5 core stage upgrade. Thrust increased more than 30% from Vulcain 1. First flight 2002.

By making design enhancements to the Vulcain 1 engine and introducing innovative production technologies, the thrust of Vulcain 2 was increased to 135 tonnes - an increase of more than 30% compared to its predecessor. Vulcain 2 would increase the payload capacity of Ariane 5 to 6.8 tonnes and increase the engine's specific impulse by 3 seconds over the basic model. This was achieved by increasing the O:F ratio to 6.3, increasing the expansion ratio by 30%, and exhausting turbine gases into the exit cone of the engine. Seven Vulcan-2 were built for running at test stand P5 in Lampoldshausen and PF50 at Vernon between April 30, 1999 and the end of 2001.

As with Vulcain 1, the Ottobrunn facility was responsible for the development and manufacture of the Vulcain 2 thrust chamber comprising the regeneratively cooled combustion chamber, coaxial propellant mixing injectors, dump cooled nozzle extension, and gimbal joint.

Thrust (sl): 939.500 kN (211,208 lbf). Thrust (sl): 95,807 kgf. Engine: 811 kg (1,787 lb). Chamber Pressure: 116.00 bar. Area Ratio: 61.5. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 73.6461709372948. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 6.7. Coefficient of Thrust vacuum: 1.96469483389405. Coefficient of Thrust sea level: 1.43452242010095.

Status: In development.
Unfuelled mass: 1,800 kg (3,900 lb).
Height: 3.60 m (11.80 ft).
Diameter: 2.10 m (6.80 ft).
Thrust: 1,350.00 kN (303,490 lbf).
Specific impulse: 434 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 318 s.
Number: 9 .

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Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

  • Kudryavtseva, V M, ed., Zhidkostnikh Raketnikh Dvigatley, Visshaya Shkola, Moscow, 1993.

Associated Stages
  • Ariane 5 EPC Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 186,000/12,700 kg. Thrust 1,114.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 434 seconds. 15.2 tonnes increased propellant by moving liquid oxygen bulkhead. More...

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