Microlaunchers to Grow Europe’s Economy

Five feasibility studies on launch services using microlaunchers in Europe, contracted within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme in 2018, proposed solutions for economically viable and commercially self-sustaining microlaunch services. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A flourishing small satellites market is driving demand for new ways to access space. Recent industry feasibility studies backed by ESA for new microlauncher services, are creating new business opportunities.

ESA intends to strengthen European industry by fostering a globally competitive European space sector with increased industry participation in launcher development.

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PRISMA Promises Revolution in Earth Observation, Environmental Monitoring

PRISMA spacecraft (Credit: Leonardo)

The Italian Space Agency satellite will observe the Earth using a hyperspectral optical sensor, which can open up new scenarios for the control of the environmental processes of our planet

ROME (Leonardo PR) — We are getting closer to the launch of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission PRISMA (Hyperspectral Precursor and Application Mission). The satellite will lift off from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana the night between 8 and 9 March, aboard a VEGA rocket.

From its orbit, at about 620 kilometers of altitude, PRISMA will observe the Earth on a global scale with different eyes, being equipped with an innovative electro-optical instrumentation. The Italian satellite will look at the planet with the most powerful operative hyperspectral instrument in the world, able to work in numerous, narrow and contiguous bands arranged from the visible to the near infrared (VNIR, Visible and Near InfraRed) and up to the infrared shortwave ( SWIR, Short Wave InfraRed).

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Avio Signs Contract for 10 Million Euros in Financing from European Investment Bank

ROME (Avio PR) — Avio S.p.A., Italian company leader in the space propulsion sector, informs that today it has signed the contract for the financing of additional Euro 10 Million with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Such financing adds up to the first Euro 40 Million loan issued by the EIB to Avio S.p.A. in October 2017, with the same economic conditions.

Leveraging the above indicated financing, Avio S.p.A. intends to support the development of space propulsion technologies for the new Vega C and Ariane 6 launchers and expand the industrial capacity of the Colleferro plant in order to meet the production volumes expected for the coming years.

“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with the European Investment Bank – Giulio Ranzo, Avio CEO, stated. This agreement further reinforces our trust in the achievement of our medium and long term growth targets, ensuring additional financial soundness to our Company”.

ESA Works on Improving Vega Performance & Capabilities

Europe’s Vega small launcher is set to demonstrate its extended capability to deploy multiple light satellites using its new versatile Small Satellites Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser, mid-2019. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Vega is proving its reliability. Based on this heritage, ESA and European industry are building new elements that will increase Vega’s performance, capabilities and flexibility from mid-2019.

A proof of concept flight on Vega of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service is planned for mid-2019.

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Avio Successfully Tested M10-methane Engine Prototype

M10 liquid oxygen-methane engine. (Credit: Avio)

COLLEFERRO, Italy (Avio PR) – Today in Colleferro Avio successfully tested the prototype of the new M10 liquid oxygen-methane engine, developed by Avio in partnership with the European Space Agency within the Vega E (Vega Evolution) program. The prototype is a scaled model of the third stage propulsion engine which will equip the Vega launcher starting from 2024.

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ESA Microlauncher Workshop Looks at New Ways to Access Space

Microlauncher concepts (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 16 November 2018 (ESA PR) — Access to space was in the spotlight at this week’s Φ event which followed an ESA-hosted workshop on Europe’s emerging microlaunch services held in Paris, France for industry, investors and institutions.

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Successful First Test Firing of P120C SRB for Ariane 6 and Vega-C

P120C awaits first hot firing. (Credit: ESA)
  • A successful test firing of 135 seconds conducted on the BEAP test bench in Kourou, French Guiana
  • P120C – the largest monolithic carbon-fiber solid rocket motor (SRM) in the world – is loaded with 142 tons of propellant
  • P120C will equip the boosters of both Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 and the Vega-C first stage ; 35 motors to be produced annually

KOUROU, French Guiana (Avio PR) — The P120C was successfully tested on 13 July in Kourou, French Guiana, on the BEAP test bench for solid rocket motors, operated by the French space agency CNES. This successful test of the first P120C ever produced is a major step in the development of the future European launchers, Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

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Arianespace Prepares for Intense 2018, Looks to Future with Ariane 6 & Vega C

Ariane 5 launch on Dec. 12, 2017. (Credit: Arianespace)

EVRY, France 9 (Arianespace PR) — The past year saw Arianespace carry out 11 successful launches; sign 19 additional launch contracts, including three for Vega C and two for Ariane 6; and enter a new governance structure alongside ArianeGroup.

Building on these achievements, Arianespace is targeting a record number of launches in 2018, while actively focusing on the next decade with its Ariane 6 and Vega C launchers.
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India & Europe Eye Smallsat Launchers

PSLV C38 mission launches (Credit: ISRO)

Officials in India and Europe are eying a greater share of the emerging small satellite market with light versions of the PSLV and Vega C boosters, respectively.

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ESA Signs Contract for Vega E, Space Rider

The new launcher has a liquid oxygen/methane engine with a low impact on the environment. The Space Rider can return to earth at the end of its mission and be reused.

Colleferro, Italy, 30th November 2017 (Avio PR) – Today, Avio signed two contracts with ESA, the European Space Agency, in Paris to develop the Vega E launcher and the Space Rider re-entry vehicle, in line with market expectations. The contracts are worth a total of €89.7 million.

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Vega Orbits OPTSAT-3000 and Venµs Satellites

Veta lifts off with OPTSAT-3000 and Venµs aboard. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — For the second time this year – and the 10th overall since entering service in 2012 – Vega has successfully launched a payload from the Spaceport, with this lightweight vehicle’s latest mission delivering the OPTSAT-3000 and Venµs Earth observation satellites to Sun-synchronous orbits.

Lifting off from the Spaceport’s SLV launch complex at precisely 10:58:33 p.m. French Guiana time on August 1, Vega lofted its multi-passenger payload during a flight sequence lasting 1 hour, 37 minutes.
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Avio Tests New PC120C Solid Rocket Motor Booster Casing

P-120C solid rocket motor booster casing. (Credit: Avio)

Avio reports it has completed operational tests for the first P120C sold rocket motor booster casing, which will be used on the new Ariane 6 and Vega C launch vehicles.

“The mechanical tests were carried out using a platform specifically designed and built to simulate the actual conditions of a space launch: pressurization inside the combustion chamber, engine thrust and mechanical loads resulting from the launcher’s operational phases,” the Italian company said in a press release.

“The technological casing, equipped and complete with instrumentation, was subjected to a test cycle up to the maximum engine operating pressure as well as a series of axial load cycles, which demonstrated that the prototype fully corresponded to engineering predictions for its mechanical behaviour,” the company added.

Vega C is set for its first launch in 2019. Ariane 6 is scheduled for the following year.

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Avio Goes Public in Successful Offering

Italian rocket manufacturer Avio SpA, which is the prime contractor and systems integrator for Europe’s Vega booster, went public this week in Milan.

Shares of Avio jumped 11 percent following the listing Monday, which came after a merger with investment vehicle Space2 SpA and marked the exit of private-equity funds led by Cinven Ltd., while doubling the stake held by Italian aerospace and defense group Leonardo SpA.

Chief Executive Giulio Ranzo said in an interview that Avio, maker of the Vega rocket, will now be able to tap capital in a more flexible way, something that’s crucial as the launcher industry is targeted by well-funded entrants such as SpaceX and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC.

“Our industry is changing a lot,” Ranzo said. “There is an unprecedented move towards more and more commercial demand. If we want to be able to compete we need to be able to mobilize resources, invest in new products and bring them to the market.”

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Airbus Safran Launchers Seeks Guaranteed Number of Ariane 6 Flights

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

As it ramps up development of the Ariane 6, Airbus Safran Launchers is looking for a guarantee from European governmental bodies to order a set number of flights per year.

The company estimates that European government demand for launches accounts for only 27 percent of Arianespace’s launch activity, with the rest coming from the commercial sector. The U.S. market is 65-percent government demand, going largely to domestic launch providers, and the Russian market is 76-percent government, according to Airbus Safran Launchers numbers.

“The target now is to try to federate the European Commission, ESA, Eumetsat and national agencies for similar applications so that we organize a production order to be awarded to Arianespace as quickly as possible in order to give European industry a minimum critical mass for production of Ariane 6, and the same for Vega C,” [CEO Alain] Charmeau explained.

He said Airbus Safran Launchers is seeking a commitment of five Ariane 6 launches per year, and believes a commitment of two Vega C launches a year for Italy’s Avio would constitute enough demand to provide stability. Charmeau said demand for launches of European satellites is rising and should make this an attainable target.

“We anticipate a slight increase in institutional requirements in line with the increasing space budget in Europe, both at the European Commission level and ESA level, which means that there will be more programs, more satellites and therefore more launch services,” he said.

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Experts Gather for Vega C Program

Vega C launch vehicle (Credit: ESA)
Vega C launch vehicle (Credit: ESA)

COLLEFERRO, Italy (AVIO PR) — About a hundred of the main European experts in space launchers gathered at Colleferro, near Rome, for a project in which the AVIO Group has a leading role both for the new space motors and especially for the VEGA C orbital launcher.

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