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Precision air for aerospace engineering launch test

Helping to shape aeronautical solutions of the future for Sapienza University Rome

Here at Atlas Copco Specialty Rental, we like to think our total solutions can perform in any conditions, at any location and for any application. However, this recent project for the School of Aerospace Engineering at Sapienza University of Rome is probably the best proof we can think of that even the sky is no limit! We’re proud to have been a part of this literally ground-breaking experiment that will one day pave the way for a game-changing remote satellite launch system.

  •    Customer challenge: to ensure a constant flow of high-pressure compressed air to test innovative pneumatic rocket launch system
  •    Our solution: reliable, high-pressure, oil-injected compressor package complete with expert monitoring and support
  •    The result: a successful scale model test generating a wealth of reliable data for the future development of the remote launch system

A unique experiment: scale model test of pneumatic rocket launcher

space test visual
Le Macchie firing range in the central Italian province of Aquila was the location for a unique aeronautical experiment. Conducted by the Sapienza University of Rome’s School of Aerospace Engineering, it was set up to test a scale model of an innovative new pneumatic rocket ejection system that will enable satellites to be launched from the deck of a ship at sea. The system uses compressed air to propel the rocket a certain distance into the air, from which it can safely fire its engines.

Precision first: critical criteria for reliable data

Obtaining accurate and actionable data from the experiment demanded an extremely high level of precision when it came to the equipment used. Being already well acquainted with Atlas Copco Specialty Rental’s diverse fleet, Prof. Paolo Teofilatto, Director of the School of Aerospace Engineering had no hesitation in calling on our local team once again: “The needs related to the experimentation that we have to carry out have oriented us towards products of safe quality and experienced operators. Atlas Copco Specialty Rental provides absolute guarantees worldwide and we wanted to turn to the most qualified operators in Italy."

Total solution: guaranteeing safe and reliable performance

“While only a scale model of a real rocket, the projectile still weighed several hundred kilograms and needed to be propelled via the extractor tube several dozen metres into the air,” explains Andrea Giorgi, Sales Area Manager Center and South Italy at Atlas Copco Specialty Rental. “Ensuring a successful and measurable launch test required a steady flow of air at a constant 16 bar of gauge pressure. Our XAS188-14 PACE oil-injected compressor performed flawlessly throughout the 2-week-long experiment, providing the exact output required.”

Phase 1 complete: gearing up for scale-up testing

spacetest2
ith phase 1 of the system test successfully completed, both the School of Aerospace Engineering and Atlas Copco Specialty Rental are gearing up for the next phases of the project, which include the testing of a 15m launch tube capable of propelling a rocket weighing several thousand kg to an altitude of 80m. Prof. Teofilatto: "The added value we found in Atlas Copco Specialty Rental was certainly the experience of the staff and the ability to access a wide range of products for every concrete need. The experience of collaboration with Atlas Copco Specialty Rental has been extremely positive for the professionalism, courtesy and dedication to work of the staff which also translates into interest in the customer's activities with automatic added value in supporting any need." We can’t wait to help steer this innovative project to even greater heights next year!

At Atlas Copco, we have been turning industrial ideas into business-critical benefits since 1873. By listening to our customers and knowing their needs, we deliver value and innovate with the future in mind.


Great ideas reinforce sustainable development. At Atlas Copco Specialty Rental, we team up with our customers to set up state-of-the-art temporary air, flow, steam and nitrogen solutions. Our passionate experts have extensive application and equipment knowledge. We understand our customers' needs and can provide a total solution for any industry, no matter if it is for emergencies or planned projects. We are a division of the Power Technique business area, headquartered in Boom, Belgium and offer specialty rental solutions under several brands around the globe.

Looking for an innovative perspective on your project? Discover the added value of our agile approach. Contact your local representative to discuss your needs