ESA has tossed aside one of its key spending practices — juste retour — in an attempt to produce a new Ariane 6 launch vehicle that can compete with cheaper ones offered by SpaceX and Chinese and Indian providers.
Juste retour (“fair return”) is the space agency’s way of spreading work around to companies in different nations in proportion to what national governments put into a program. The approach produced the highly reliable but expensive Ariane V, whose components and systems are produced throughout Europe.
Nothing is more gratifying than starting the holidays with good news! A good example of this is ESA’s Ariane 5 programme, which has taken some important steps in the closing days of the current year – the ordering of a further 18 Ariane 5 ECA launchers for the existing Ariane operations, the successful completion of ‘verification key points’ for the Ariane 5 ME ‘Midlife Evolution’ development programme and the start of construction work on a new upper stage tank facility in Bremen.
As part of the preparations for the decisions in the launchers area, which will be made at the ESA Ministerial Council Meeting in Luxembourg towards the end of 2014, the Ariane 5ME development programme introduced a milestone to evaluate the current status. An expert panel, consisting of representatives of the space agencies ESA, CNES and DLR, as well as industry, reviewed the project intensively over a two-week period. The objective was to determine whether the technical, planning and commercial project goals are being met and whether the programme costs are under control.
BREMEN, Germany (OHB AG PR) — MT Aerospace AG, part of the European space and technology group OHB AG, signed an authorization to proceed with The Boeing Company for the development and production of large tank components for the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. Boeing is a prime contractor for the SLS, which is scheduled for first launch in 2017.