Snecma’s experience in space propulsion reaches back over 60 years.
We design, develop and produce a wide range of space propulsion systems, including cryogenic rocket engines and equipment for launch vehicles, and propulsion systems for satellites and space vehicles.
In the launcher propulsion market, Snecma is the prime contractor for the production of the two cryogenic engines on Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher, the Vulcain®2 main stage engine and the HM7™B upper stage engine. We are also in charge of development for the new Vinci® upper stage cryogenic engine. Snecma leads a number of partners from ESA (European Space Agency) countries to produce these engines.
In the satellite propulsion market, Snecma develops, integrates, tests and markets, through an international partnership, electric systems based on plasma thrusters for propulsion and orbital control of space probes and satellites.
We also have long experience in chemical propulsion systems, in particular supplying the 200N engines used on the first two ATV cargo vessels for the International Space Station.
At the same time, Snecma is looking further ahead through a proactive Research & Technology policy, based on the production of engine and component demonstrators in collaboration with our European partners.
Space propulsion customers
- Ariane development and production
Europe has a launcher operator, Arianespace, which has been in charge of operating and marketing Ariane launchers since being founded in 1980. Arianespace orders Ariane 5 launchers from the industrial prime contractor, Astrium Space Transportation. Astrium is Snecma’s customer for the development and production of cryogenic propulsion systems on Ariane 5.
We designed all liquid propulsion systems for all stages on the original family of Ariane 1 to Ariane 4 launchers, which established Arianespace’s global leadership in the commercial satellite launch service market. Today, we provide propulsion systems for the two cryogenic stages on Ariane 5, Europe’s heavy-lift launcher, and we are gearing up for the future by working on solutions to enhance the launcher’s performance and competitiveness.
- Satellite manufacturers
Snecma’s customers for satellite propulsion are the leading space system prime contractors, including Thales Alenia Space, Astrium, OHB, SSC and others.
- Space agencies
Space agencies may be national, such as NASA (United States) and CNES (France), or international, such as the European Space Agency (ESA). They develop, propose and conduct national or cross-border space policies. This mission often leads to new applications, which naturally demand appropriate propulsion systems. Space agencies are our primary customers for Research & Technology services, in particular for propulsion system demonstration programs for both launchers and satellites.