The three engines for Europe’s new Ariane 6 launcher have now completed their qualification tests, following the successful qualification testing of the P120C solid propulsion engine on October 7 at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana
The qualification test campaigns for the Vinci and Vulcain 2.1 liquid propulsion engines were held in 2018 and 2019, respectively
The Vulcain 2.1 and Vinci engines, which will be powering the first Ariane 6, are ready to be mounted on the core stage in Les Mureaux and on the upper stage in Bremen
PARIS (ArianeGroup PR) — The future European launcher’s three types of engines use two different propulsion technologies:
liquid hydrogen-oxygen propulsion for the Vulcain 2.1 core stage engine and the re-ignitable Vinci engine on the upper stage;
solid propulsion for the P120C engine fitted to the boosters which help propel Ariane 6 beyond the gravitational pull of earth’s atmosphere.
Video Caption: The second qualification model of the P120C solid rocket motor, configured for Ariane 6, completed its hot firing on 7 October 2020 in a final test to prove its readiness for flight.
Depending on the configuration, two or four P120C motors, developed in Europe, will be strapped onto the sides of the future Ariane 6 launch vehicle as boosters for liftoff. The P120C will also be used as the first stage of Vega-C.
After it was fully loaded with 142 tonnes of fuel, the 13.5 m long and 3.4 m diameter motor was ignited to simulate liftoff and the first phase of flight.
The motor burned for 130 seconds and delivered a maximum thrust of about 4500kN. The test was performed at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, and was completed with no anomalies.
TOKYO (ispace PR) — Today, lunar services company, ispace, revealed the final design of its lunar lander that will be used in the first mission of the company’s “HAKUTO-R” program, a multinational commercial lunar exploration program.
PARIS (CNES PR) — On Wednesday, 24 June, research laboratories, start-ups, PMEs and other firms presented their work contributing to the launch systems of the future to a top-level audience. In all, €750,000 worth of CNES contracts were awarded to the laureates, which each received €50,000 or €100,000 to develop their solutions.
At its Innovation Day on 7 February in Toulouse, CNES announced a Launchers R&D Challenge under its Connect by CNES initiative, in partnership with ArianeGroup and ESA, designed to ease access to funding for launch systems.
PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has finalized its preorder for four more launches on Ariane 6, along with an initial payment.
Using Ariane 62, the light version of the new European launcher, these missions will be carried out on behalf of the European Commission to continue the deployment and operational ramp-up of the high-performance Galileo satellite navigation system.
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest mission will enter the vacuum of space, not aboard a rocket but by being released from the International Space Station. The first task of the shoebox-sized Qarman CubeSat is simply to fall. While typical space missions resist orbital decay, Qarman will drift down month by month until it reenters the atmosphere, at which point it will gather a wealth of data on the fiery physics of reentry.
EUR 100 million contingent loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme, a European Space Agency programme with ArianeGroup as Industrial lead contractor and design authority
First EUR 100 million venture capital programme under InnovFin to support innovation and growth of European smaller and medium-sized space technology companies
LUXEMBOURG (EIB PR) — The European Commission is partnering with the European Investment Bank Group, announcing EUR 200 million of investments into the EU space sector, supporting ground-breaking innovation in the industry. During the European Space Policy Conference in Brussels, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle is signing an agreement with André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, confirming a EUR 100 million loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme.
COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace recorded a solid operational and business performance in 2019 by orbiting 24 satellites with nine launches, while signing 14 launch services contracts during the year for a total of 44 satellites ranging in mass from six kilograms to nearly six metric tons – marking the flexibility of the company’s commercial offer.
COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace is heading into 2020 fully prepared to capitalize on the latest commercial opportunities for Ariane 5 and to succeed with Vega’s return-to-flight, planned for March. Arianespace also is aiming to set three new records:
For the number of launches during the year, with up to 12 opportunities identified from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, along with the first flights of Vega C and Ariane 6; and eight more from the cosmodromes at Baikonur and Vostochny. (from these two cosmodromes, this launch cadence could be augmented based on satellite availability),
For the number of satellites placed into orbit – more than 300 – taking into account the continued deployment of OneWeb satellites and the SSMS rideshare mission with Vega, and
For the number of launch pads at its service: four at the Guiana Space Center (for Ariane 5, Ariane 6, Soyuz and Vega/Vega C), along with one each at the Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes for Soyuz.
Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the signature of a launch services contract for the Euclid satellite – with the mission’s timeframe for liftoff starting in mid-2022 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).
Euclid mission will be compatible with Ariane 62 and Soyuz.
Euclid is a medium-class astronomy and astrophysics space mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 scientific program to investigate the history of the expansion of our Universe over the past 10 billion years, looking into the current acceleration of cosmic expansion fueled by a mysterious component referred to as dark energy, and the growth of cosmic structures driven by the presence of dark matter.
Video Caption: As the year comes to a close, it is once again time to look back and reflect on some of the achievements and highlights of European spaceflight.
The new Gaia star catalogue and the launch of Cheops are keeping ESA at the forefront of space science, as will Solar Orbiter, being prepared for launch next year.
The Copernicus programme continues to be the largest Earth observation programme in the world, with ESA preparing even more missions.
On the Space Station, Luca Parmitano became the third European to command an ISS expedition. During his second mission, he made some of the space programme’s most complex and demanding spacewalks.
At the end of 2019, the ESA Space19+ ministerial conference agreed to give ESA its largest budget ever and expressed continued support for Europe’s independent access to space with Ariane 6 and Vega-C.
Three years after the last ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, government representatives from the 22 Member States met in Seville, Spain, on 27 and 28 November 2019 and committed a total of almost 14.4 billion euro [$15.87 billion] for space programmes over the next few years.
Germany is contributing 3.3 billion euro [$3.6 billion] to ESA programmes focusing on Earth observation, telecommunications, technological advancement and commercialisation / NewSpace.
At 22.9 percent, Germany is now ESA’s largest contributor, followed by France (18.5 percent, 2.66 billion euro), Italy (15.9 percent, 2.28 billion euro) and the United Kingdom (11.5 percent, 1.65 billion euro).
The ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level is the highest political decision-making body, and it defines the content and financial framework for ESA’s space programmes every two to three years.
KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first test models of Ariane 6 are being manufactured while Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, is preparing to test the launch vehicle and all systems involved with launch.
Details on the progress of activities for Ariane 6 were recently shared at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held in Washington, USA – downloadable here (.pdf).
Ministers approved funding lunar Gateway, space station operations until 2030, Mars Sample Return and Hera asteroid missions
SEVILLE, Spain (ESA PR) — ESA’s Council at Ministerial Level, Space19+, has concluded in Seville, Spain, with the endorsement of the most ambitious plan to date for the future of ESA and the whole European space sector. The meeting brought together ministers with responsibility for space activities in Europe, along with Canada and observers from the EU.
The Member States were asked to approve a comprehensive set of programmes to secure Europe’s independent access to and use of space in the 2020s, boost Europe’s growing space economy, and make breakthrough discoveries about Earth, our Solar System and the Universe beyond, all the while making the responsible choice to strengthen the efforts we are making to secure and protect our planet.