Ready for new challenges!

Ready for new challenges!

The time is here for me, Sofie, to debut here on the blog. Unlike my other trainee colleagues I work within the space propulsion here at GKN. GKN is part of the European space program and is responsible for the technical development and manufacturing of the outlet nozzle and the two motor turbines for the Ariane launchers. I spent my first workshop experience in the space workshop where parts are manufactured, assembled, welded and becomes a final product. During my weeks I was able to follow the whole process (deburring, assembly, welding, cleaning, penetrant, radiographic, measurement, control and production engineering), with a focus on the series production exhaust nozzle of the Ariane 5 rocket.

The nozzle in the middle at the bottom of the rocket is made in Trollhättan. © 2014 ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE

Ariane 5 is launched 6-7 times per year from the Guiana Space Centre located near Kourou in French Guyana. The exhaust nozzle currently manufactured here in Trollhättan is the nozzle in the middle at the bottom of the rocket, see the picture above. Although it looks very small on the picture it is in reality more than 2 meters high, 2 meters in diameter and weighs 450 kg! But compared to the rocket which is 50 meters long and have a total weight of 780 tonnes, it can easily be perceived as a very small detail.

Some fun trivia about the nozzle is that it has about 700 separate parts which are assembled here in Trollhättan and that each nozzle has 3 km of welding! The application area of the nozzle is very special and the circumstances which it is exposed are extreme. The operating temperature of the flame coming out of the nozzle is 3500 ° C and the active cooling of the top of the nozzle has a temperature of -250 ° C. To be able to design and produce a nozzle that can handle these challenges are very impressive! Something that I understood during the time in the workshop was what an incredible craftsmanship the manufacturing process is. Many operations are performed manually with an extreme precision and pride of the operators of the work done is more than well deserved. Working with special and challenging products, it is easy to understand why many of the guys (where are the girls one might ask) in the space workshop have worked there in many years. I would like to send a big thanks to everyone who took care of me and showed me your specific areas during my weeks in the workshop! I have just started my first period of rotation within production engineering in space propulsion; I will tell you more about that in future posts.

Finally, I turn to those of you who are about to begin your thesis. We continuously uploads exciting new theses under the tab “thesis” here on the website and I know that more is coming. If you are interested in doing a thesis in an incredibly exciting area do not hesitate – apply! Do you have any questions or concerns, please contact me ( or Linn ( and we’ll try to help! Do you have a specific interest or area that you want to do a thesis in please contact us so we can forward your request to the right person.

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