Turbopumps are one of the main components in liquid propellant engines for aerospace use. These machines offer extreme performance, as they are designed to feed the combustion chamber with propellants drawn from tanks that are pressurised to hundreds of bars.
They have enormous power density (such as 6500 HP in a mass of 250 Kg), are exposed to extreme environments (at temperatures ranging from cryogenic to over 1000°C), highly aggressive liquids such as liquid oxygen, and astounding speeds of rotation.
Because of Avio’s lengthy history and broad experience in the design and construction of turbo-machines, the European Space Agency (ESA) entrusted the company with the task of developing the cryogenic, liquid oxygen turbopump (LOX TP) for the Vulcain 1 engine in 1985. The engine completed 24 perfect missions on Ariane 5 before being replaced by a new version, the Vulcain 2. Using this design as a starting point, Avio developed all the LOX turbopumps used in European cryogenic engines, as well as the liquid methane turbo-machine for the Mira-D engine. Avio uses multiple facilities and dedicated test benches for the development of its LOX turbopumps.