Ariane 6 engine development

Research and test infrastructure for future space transportation

Approximately 250 employees at DLR’s site in Lampoldshausen are currently focusing their scientific expertise, flexible infrastructure and openness to the use of future-oriented and cost-reducing technologies from the fields of digitalisation and AI towards making spaceflight safer and more cost-effective. This involves innovative propulsion systems and environmentally friendly fuels. Lampoldshausen has become the leading European research and technology hub for liquid propulsion systems and rocket stages of all sizes and specifications.

The Vinci upper stage engine and Vulcain 2.1 main stage engine have already been tested and qualified for use in the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle on ESA test stands P4.1 and P5. The engines are being developed and manufactured by ArianeGroup. In October 2022, a hot-fire test with the complete Ariane 6 upper stage was conducted on ESA test stand P5.2, which was specially created for this purpose. This highly demanding test involves simulating flight-like conditions on the test stand. In this way, the interaction of all components for launch preparation and flight can be demonstrated, and the loads that a rocket stage has to withstand on its way into space can be simulated. Hot-fire tests are the ultimate challenge. They place extreme demands on the test stand technology, the team and the infrastructure. The successful test campaign was a highlight in DLR’s history and a milestone moment on the way towards the first launch of Ariane 6.

The high-performance DLR facility was designed and constructed as part of the development of the future European launch vehicle Ariane 6, under a direct contract from the European Space Agency (ESA). Both the test stand and essential parts of the tested rocket stage were financed with German ESA contributions to the Ariane 6 development programme. The German Space Agency at DLR is responsible for allocating and coordinating these funds on behalf of the Federal Government.


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Space Propulsion
Anja Frank · Email