Safran a major contributor to first flight of Europe's new Vega launcher

Paris, February 15, 2012

The first qualification flight of Europe's new Vega light launcher on February 13, 2012 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana was a success, with the Safran group making a major contribution.

The European family of launch vehicles has officially welcomed a new member, with the first flight of the Vega light launcher on February 13, 2012 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Designed for the small satellite market, this new launch vehicle offers fast and easy access to space.

Safran is a major contributor to the Vega launcher, which features a number of technological innovations. For example, Europropulsion (a jointly-owned subsidiary of Snecma Propulsion Solide and Avio) produces the P80 first stage solid rocket motor (SRM), the world's largest single-piece SRM with a filament wound composite case. The P80's solid propellant is provided by Regulus (joint subsidiary of SME and Avio), and Snecma Propulsion Solide makes the high-performance, cost-effective nozzle. Most of the materials used in the P80 motor are lighter, stronger and more reliable, thus decreasing the overall parts count.

The companies that will form Herakles (the new company consolidating Snecma Propulsion Solide and SME) also contribute many other key components for Vega. For example, PyroAlliance (an SME company) provides all destruction, ignition and separation systems for the first three stages, while Snecma Propulsion Solide supplies the igniter cases, high-performance pressure transducers and nozzle subassemblies for the second and third stages (Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9).


Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Safran group has more than 54,000 employees and generated sales of 10.8 billion euros in 2010. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of 1.2 billion euros in 2010. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and its share is part of the CAC 40.

Catherine Malek
Tel : +33 (0)1 40 60 80 28

2, bd du Général Martial Valin
75724 Paris Cedex 15 - France

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