Airbus Safran Launchers CEO Alain Charmeau says the company is making rapid progress on Europe’s Ariane 6 next generation launcher, with the basic design now frozen.
“We have already signed some major contracts, and more will be signed in the coming days. And for those equipments not on the critical path, we will sign contracts in the coming months after running some competitions.”
For its part, Airbus Safran does not envisage making Ariane 6 recoverable, not in the short term….
Long term it is hard to envisage Ariane shunning re-usability, and Airbus is studying a concept called Adeline that would modify the 62 and 64 variants to allow their main engine to fly back to a runway after consuming its launch propellant.
Whether Adeline, or some other re-usability concept, ever sees the light of day – and it would not be before 2030 – will ultimately come down to the attitude of European Space Agency member states. They fund the R&D of the Ariane programme and they may feel the American competition demands a response.
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