The new solid booster P120C, which will be on the sides of new launch vehicle Ariane 6, successfully completed its second firing test on January 28th. The solid booster motor is a new European development and will also be used for the future version of the Vega launch vehicle, Vega-C. 

After it was fully loaded with 142 tonnes of fuel, the 13.5 m long and 3.4 m diameter motor was ignited to simulate liftoff and the first phase of the flight. The motor burned for 135 seconds and delivered a maximum thrust of about 4650 kN (that is, forty-four times the thrust of an F22 fighter jet engine!) and the test outperformed the first P120C test in July 2018, which reached 4200 kN. The test was conducted at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, and was completed with no anomalies.

After the second P120C test, a full analysis of the test results will confirm readiness of this motor for Vega-C’s debut launch.

Drone footage of the firing test is available here. For more information, see the official ESA article on the firing test here.