Solid propulsion

Solid propellant stage

Solid propulsion technology is often used for a launcher's boosters or main stage to enable a launcher to lift off. At present, a solid rocket booster is usually made up of a steel case containing blocks of a self-burning mixture called solid propellant. When this burns the gases produced are forced through a nozzle to provide the power for liftoff.

Several new solid propulsion technologies are being developed in the frame of the Vega/P80 programme to increase performance and reduce costs. These technologies include:

  • monolithic carbon fibre reinforced polymer motor case
  • high performance propellant and grain design
  • low-density internal thermal insulation
  • nozzle using low-cost materials and advanced manufacturing processes
  • advanced flex joints
  • electro-mechanical actuators


Other technologies under development that could be used on future launch systems include:

  • segmentation of carbon fibre reinforced polymer case and skirt/case connection
  • development of a low-cost propellant and high energy propellants
  • assessing new motor designs with respect to pressure oscillations
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