ArianeGroup Selected for Two European Commission Calls for Projects to Speed Up the Development of Europe’s First Reusable and Eco-friendly Launchers

ArianeGroup has been selected by the European Commission to run two major projects in its Horizon Europe research framework program.

  • The SALTO project will facilitate the first flight tests of the Themis reusable stage demonstrator in Kiruna, Sweden.
  • The ENLIGHTEN project will speed up the development and introduction of reusable engine technologies.
  • Each project is built on the joint expertise of ArianeGroup, industry, research institutes and start-ups, to accelerate Europe’s transition to increasingly innovative, competitive and eco-friendly access to space.

ISSY-LES-MOULINEAUX, France (ArianeGroup PR) — Following the call for projects issued by the European Commission as part of its Horizon Europe program designed to encourage and accelerate innovation, ArianeGroup has been given responsibility for two particularly ambitious projects to speed up the development of reusable, ecofriendly European launchers. ArianeGroup will be heading the SALTO and ENLIGHTEN projects, bringing together numerous academic and industrial partners, including innovative start-ups.

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Ariane 6 Launch Complex Inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport

A time lapse was filmed under the stars on the Ariane 6 launch base at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The new launch complex built for Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket is inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

With this, ESA celebrates another important milestone in the Ariane 6 roadmap as it forges ahead with combined tests between launch vehicle and launch base and preparations towards the first launch campaign.

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Rocket Tanks of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Proven Possible

MT Aerospace tested the strength of a subscale tank made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. (Credit: MT Aerospace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Future rockets could fly with tanks made of lightweight thanks to ground-breaking research carried out within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme.

Building on earlier studies, MT Aerospace in Germany has demonstrated a novel design of a small scale tank made of a unique carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) that is not only leak-proof with liquid hydrogen, but also compatible with liquid oxygen, without the use of a metal liner.

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New PHOEBUS Contract Paves Way for Development of Future Lightweight Composite Rocket Stages

MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup signed contracts with ESA on 14 May 2019 to develop Phoebus, a prototype of a highly-optimised black upper stage. (Credit: ArianeGroup)
  • ArianeGroup signs a new contract with ESA as lead contractor for the PHOEBUS project. This European Space Agency program aims to further the development of composite technologies, notably for the future upper stage of Ariane 6
  • The future “black” carbon composite upper stage, called ICARUS (Innovative Carbon ARiane Upper Stage), will be lighter than the current metal upper stage and will further enhance the versatility and competitiveness of Ariane 6 in the next few years
  • This contract, worth 14,6 M€, follows on from the first contracts signed in May 2019 and will confirm the technological maturity of the PHOEBUS demonstrator

MOULINEAUX, France (ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and ArianeGroup, lead contractor and design authority for Ariane 6, have signed a new technological development contract in the field of carbon composites. The PHOEBUS (Prototype of a Highly OptimizEd Black UpperStage) program will increase the maturity of the technologies needed to lower both the manufacturing cost and the weight of the Ariane 6 upper stage. The goal is thus to improve its performance (in particular, an increased payload capacity of about two metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit), and to validate a new stage architecture.

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New ESA Contracts to Advance Prometheus and Phoebus Projects

Prometheus rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup Holding)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is forging ahead with advanced developments in two flagship space transportation demonstration projects, Prometheus and Phoebus. This will benefit Europe’s new Ariane 6 launcher in the near-term, and prepare for a new generation of European launch vehicles in the next decade.

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Germany Invests 3.3 Billion Euros in European Space Exploration, Becomes ESA’s Largest Contributor

  • 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.
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DLR Teams with 5 European Companies to Develop Reusable Launch Vehicles

conceptual sketch of RETALT1 (Credit: DLR)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center  (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and five European companies have teamed up in the RETro Propulsion Assisted Landing Technologies (RETALT) project to jointly advance the research and development of key technologies for European vertical-landing launch vehicles. The consortium will spend three years examining the aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics – that is, in-flight surface temperatures – flight dynamics during both the outward and return flight phases, and navigation and control, as well as structural components, materials and mechanisms.

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MT Aerospace, ArianeGroup Sign Development Contracts with ESA for Ariane 6 Composite Upper Stage Technologies

PARIS (MT Aerospace/ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) today signed two contracts for technology maturation with MT Aerospace AG, an affiliate of the listed OHB SE space and technology group and with ArianeGroup, lead contractor for Ariane 6.

MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup are combining their respective skills in Augsburg and Bremen to design and test the Prototype of a Highly OptimizEd Black Upper Stage (PHOEBUS). The continuous evolution of the Ariane 6 launcher in terms of greater competitiveness and improved performance requires the exploration and utilization of composite technologies.

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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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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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Blue Origin, OHB & MT Aerospace Sign Letter of Intent to Cooperate on Lunar Missions

Blue Moon lander (Credit: Blue Origin)

BREMEN, Germany, October 2, 2018 (OHB PR) — The OHB Group today signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for future cooperation with the U.S. aerospace company Blue Origin. The document was signed by Dr. Lutz Bertling and Kurt Melching, members of the Management Board of OHB SE, Hans J. Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace and Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, during a bilateral meeting at the International Space Congress IAC in Bremen.

The aim is to explore the extent to which OHB, MT Aerospace and Blue Origin can work together across the Atlantic. The companies have partnered on a future Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface – Blue Origin’s lunar lander capable of bringing several metric tons of cargo to the Moon. The companies will collaborate on a payload on board Blue Origin’s reusable orbital rocket New Glenn. The use of these systems and possible cooperation will be the subject of in-depth discussions in the transatlantic dialogue.

“We are delighted to have gained Blue Origin as a dialogue partner who has established itself over the past few years as one of the leading companies in the aerospace industry,” says Lutz Bertling. “We are convinced that the mixture of the respective competencies will quickly lead to concrete approaches for further cooperation”.











ESA Selects Five Micro Launcher Feasibility Studies

PARIS (ESA PR) — Small satellites usually ride piggyback on larger missions but finding a suitable match is difficult because the launch date and orbit are set by the primary payload.

A microlauncher can place a small satellite typically used for Earth observation, technology demonstration, education and telecoms into low orbits, starting from the ground or from an aerial platform.

ESA has chosen five feasibility studies from industry proposing an economically viable, commercially self-sustaining microlauncher, without public funding.

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ESA Alters Procurement Practices for Ariane 6 Program

Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)
Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

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.

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End of the Year Progress Report on Ariane 5 ME

Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)
Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)

By Thilo Kranz
DLR

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.

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Boeing Awards German Company Contract for SLS Tank Components

SLS_on_pad
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.

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