Energetic materials for propulsion: expertise every step of the way

Airbus Safran Launchers' technological expertise in all aspects of energetic materials makes us a world leader in solid propulsion. Solid propellants provide the energy needed by solid rocket motors, whether for missiles or launch vehicles. To maintain our technological leadership, the joint-venture between Safran and Airbus Group deploys innovative processes, coupled with long experience in managing the risks involved.

A broad array of skills

Airbus Safran Launchers is one of the world leaders in the design, development and production of solid propulsion systems. It also provides the solid propellants needed by missiles and launch vehicles.

The company's expertise is based on its mastery of energetic materials, the synthesis of new molecules and development of new materials, including the chemistry and physics behind gas generation and its role in solid propulsion systems.

Space propulsion: focus on the Ariane 5 launcher

Airbus Safran Launchers provides the MPS solid booster motors for Europe's Ariane 5 launcher, along with the main raw materials for the propellants, pyrotechnic ignition devices, high-performance elastomers, carbon fabrics used for thermal linings and precision pressure transducers. It also loads the propellant in the three segments of the solid rocket motors, and makes the nozzle for these motors.

Le moteur cryotechnique Vulcain® 2, d’une poussée de 1340kN (135 tonnes), propulse l’Etage Principal Cryotechnique d’Ariane 5. Dérivé du moteur Vulcain® auquel il a succédé avec 20% de poussée supplémentaire, il a été qualifié en vol lors du lancement d’Ariane 5 ECA le 12 février 2005. Fin 2013, les moteurs de la famille Vulcain cumulent 57succès d’affilée en vol sur 10 ans.
The Vulcain® 2 engine of the Ariane 5 launcher

Multiple applications

Building on its proven expertise in solid propulsion for rockets and missiles, Airbus Safran Launchers has developed derivative applications for industry :

  • For the automotive industry, gas generators for airbags and other safety devices.
  • Floatability systems, fire extinguishers, etc.

The safety imperative

Making energetic materials demands complete control over all risks. The techniques developed by Airbus Safran Launchers for mixing various pyrotechnic ingredients guarantees reduced sensitivity, and therefore safe operation.