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Cryogenic propellant tanks

Liquid methane could replace hydrogen in the future. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, methane has a significantly higher condensation temperature than hydrogen. It is close to that of oxygen, which makes it easier to use. Moreover, methane has a higher density than hydrogen, which makes it possible to use smaller tanks. Thanks to this expertise, we are already planning new trials: a HX2 demonstrator and a Cryofenix 2 sounding rocket.

A long term involvement with the Ariane program

Since the start of the Ariane program, Air Liquide has been involved in the evolution of successive generations of launch vehicles in close collaboration with the European Space Agency and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (French National Space Studies Center). We are responsible for the launch vehicles' liquid hydrogen and oxygen storage tanks, from their design to their integration.

Today, Air Liquide Advanced Business & Technologies produces Ariane 5's second stage liquid oxygen tanks in Sassenage. EuroCryospace, a partnership between Air Liquide and Airbus Defence & Space, produces the first stage propellant tanks and the second stage liquid hydrogen tanks in Les Mureaux.

Tomorrow, Ariane 6 will head into space. We will pursue the adventure through innovation, studies, and experiments. Our objective? To guarantee the ideal conditions for the launch vehicle's future engine to shut down and reignite after a ballistic phase. That's the aim of the Cryofenix sounding rocket flight, which analyzed the behavior of liquid hydrogen in microgravity, and tests on the HX demonstrator. This will result in the approval of 14 technologies developed by Air Liquide and EuroCryospace!

Why choose us?

  • 01

    Our experience

    We have worked on all the developments for the European launch vehicle, Ariane, as well as numerous international projects, including the International Space Station; the Planck, Herschel, and Microscope satellites; and the Curiosity and ExoMars exploration rovers, among others.

  • 02

    The expertise of our teams

    Our employees are passionate about their work. Our results-minded approach and wealth of expertise have allowed us to make great strides and are now leading us to even more ambitious technological challenges, from launch vehicles with reignition capability and electric propulsion for satellites, to life on Mars...

  • 03

    Our capacity for innovation

    Our innovation teams rely on Air Liquide's expertise and close collaborations with public research laboratories, like the CEA, the CNRS, and the Grenoble University Space Center.