In order to cope with a short-term need of a growth of Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) lift capacity, a new upper stage is under development for the Ariane 5. Not only will this new stage (ESC-B) be more powerful with 12 ton lift capacity in GTO, it will also be five times restartable, providing a versatile mission capability. The Vinci engine, a cryogenic H2/O2 fuelled restartable expander cycle engine, will power this new upper stage.
In contrary to other restartable expander cycle engines, the Vinci engine will feature an ignition system that is independent of the engine cycle with respect to propellant supply to the igniter.
Aerospace Propulsion Products is responsible for the design, manufacturing and qualification of the complete system.
The Vinci Ignition System consists of three main parts:
- The igniter feed system in which hydrogen and oxygen are stored under high pressure;
- The igniter, which is a small combustion chamber in which the igniter gasses are ignited by a spark plug;
- The exciter that delivers the energy to the igniter spark plug.