ONERA Joins ArianeWorks Accelerator

PARIS (CNES PR) — ArianeWorks, the acceleration and innovation platform created at the beginning of 2019 by the French space agency CNES and ArianeGroup, founder members and coordinators, continues to expand with the arrival of a new partner, ONERA, a leading player in aerospace research and a key partner in the development of the Ariane family of launchers.

This partnership agreement will enable ArianeWorks’ projects to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the French aerospace research center, notably in the fields of structural health monitoring (SHM) and aerothermodynamics.

The systems engineering platform will now have two ONERA engineers who will be leveraging the research lab’s outstanding skills and capabilities to support its activities and meet the challenges it faces. This knowledge will be a great asset for designing THEMIS, the low-cost reusable launch vehicle stage demonstrator, the main project on which ArianeWorks is focusing to prepare future evolutions of Ariane.

For the past three months, preliminary design work has been under way on THEMIS in parallel with ArianeGroup’s testing of the new-generation PROMETHEUS engine that will power it, along with development of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle by CNES, the German aerospace center DLR, and a third international partner, laying the groundwork to clear some of the technological hurdles that lie ahead.

At the same time, ArianeWorks has also completed a number of experiments to evaluate and accelerate key innovations for the THEMIS project, which will be put forward at the Ministerial Conference of the European Space Agency (ESA) in November.

ArianeWorks is an acceleration platform working on future generations of European space launchers. Comprising a 15-strong team given free rein to explore avenues of research, backed up by the exceptional know-how and capabilities of CNES and ArianeGroup, ArianeWorks is resolutely open to new and productive partnerships with new players, notably innovative start-ups, laboratories, SMEs and manufacturers.

About ArianeWorks

ArianeWorks is an innovation platform created by the French space agency CNES and ArianeGroup with the aim of speeding up the preparation of future generations of European launch vehicles. It comprises a fully integrated, independent and flexible project team, which cultivates disruptive approaches and agile methods. The platform functions much like a start-up, allowing dynamic management of upstream projects, while benefiting from the support of teams at ArianeGroup and CNES. Principally, ArianeWorks is responsible for developing THEMIS, a low-cost, reusable launch vehicle stage demonstrator.


ONERA, a central player in aeronautical and space research, employs around 2,000 people. Under the auspices of the French Armed Forces Ministry, it has a budget of 235 million euros, more than half of which comes from commercial contracts. Expert for the State, ONERA prepares the defences of tomorrow, addresses the aeronautical and spatial challenges of the future, and contributes to the competitiveness of the aerospace industry. It masters every discipline and technology in the field. All the major civil and military aerospace programmes in France and Europe carry a part of ONERA’s DNA: Ariane, Airbus, Falcon, Rafale, missiles, helicopters, engines, radars. Acknowledged worldwide and often award-winners, its scientists help to train many PhD students.