Ariane Ultimate Project Looks Toward Launchers of 2040

Ariane Ultimate (Credit: CNES)

PARIS (CNES PR) — What will the launcher look like the day after tomorrow? It is far too early to tell, but CNES is already working to imagine the disruptive technologies that will make it fly.

In the field of launchers, you have to know how to look far ahead. While the qualification of Ariane 6 has entered its final phases, its successor Ariane Next is envisaged for the 2030s, and reflections for the post-2040 are well underway with the Ariane Ultimate project . At this stage, it is still only a concept, that is to say a pool of new technologies which are in an embryonic state but which we want to make mature by this time, in order to develop a launcher that must be carbon neutral, fully reusable and at almost zero marginal launch cost. It is also a question of projecting on the new uses of space in the coming decades as we can imagine them on this horizon: for example the need for high speeds to reach the low orbits which could serve as hubs of exchange towards the Moon or towards Mars. 

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CNES Eyes Biomass to Fuel Future Ariane Launchers

Biomethane installation (Credit: Naskeo Environnement)

The idea of ​​using biomethane to propel future generations of Ariane is gaining ground. This innovative technological solution would have great economic and environmental interest and many positive repercussions in Guyana.

PARIS (CNES PR) — The future Ariane Next launcher , which could take over from Ariane 6 by 2030 or 2035, will have to be more economical to meet market needs. One of the avenues to achieve this could be to use liquid methane rather than hydrogen to power the engines.

“The matter is not yet 100% decided, but we are looking with interest at the combination of oxygen and methane. This is why we are looking for the best methane production channel from an economic as well as an environmental standpoint,” said Pascal Noir, project manager at the Launchers Department.

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