Robert Lainé, former Ariane Program Director and EADS Space CTO, joins Celestia Aerospace

Sagittarius Launch System (Credit: Celestia Aerospace)

BARCELONA, Spain (Celestia Aerospace PR) — Celestia Aerospace, a pioneering turnkey orbit solutions aerospace company, is proud to announce that Robert Lainé PhD, former head of the Ariane European launcher program, joins the company’s team.

Robert Lainé is one of the key pieces to understand the evolution of Europe’s space industry during the last four decades. He has been in charge of keystone projects such as the Giotto probe systems, the XMM-Newton space telescope or the International Space Station cargo ship Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). In recent years, he was appointed Head of the Ariane launcher program at the European Space Agency (ESA) and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the european aerospace consortium EADS Space (now Airbus Defence and Space).

Robert Lainé, a french electronics engineer (ENSEA) and PhD Honoris Causa by Surrey University (UK), will contribute with his vast experience in a wide variety of aerospace projects to consolidate and accelerate the proprietary “Sagittarius Launch System”, the airborne launch system designed by Celestia Aerospace.

Robert Lainé joins the senior staff already composed of Professor Adriano Camps, PhD in Telecommunications Engineering, Professor at the Telecommunications Engineering School of Barcelona (BarcelonaTech – Technical University of Catalonia, UPC), and Professor Ángel Mateo, PhD in Aerospace Engineering, Professor at the Aerospace Engineering School of Madrid (Madrid Polytech).

  • Kapitalist

    ESA trying to air launch a tiny-sat as a missile from a 35 year old Soviet Mig-29?
    How could this get any better?

    All the text is about how terrific the stupid (or rather corrupt) engineer in question is, and nothing about evaluating this actual idea itself. Congrats to him for being able to stuff his pockets with other peoples money for nothing in return!

  • AMRAAMs for CubeSat launch? Great… I guess?

  • Aerospike

    what exactly has this to do with ESA other than a former ESA employee has now joined this other company?

  • Kapitalist

    Indeed, I do mistake Messier’s posts for relevant space happening news. But often, as in this case, it is just about some guy upgrading his LinkedIn profile. using some pie in the sky idea as a pretext for pretending it to be a space news.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Was that write up about Robert Laine, or turning the MiG-29 into a satellite killer? Hey that’s a new business model. Instead of contracting to PLACE satellites into orbit, why not offer services to turn them into debris fields? “With our team of experienced orbital mechanicians we can convert any unwanted satellite into the debris field of your own design.”. “Our MiG pilots are top notch each with combat experience having avoided destruction by AIM-120’s on multiple sorties.”…..Done dirt cheap no doubt.

  • JamesG

    Swords to plowshares?

    Or did they just cut n paste a bunch of public domain 3D models together?

  • Jason Miller

    According to their website, the AMRAAM-looking thing is suborbital. That at least seems plausible. I’m not sure how the economics would work out compared to conventional sounding rockets. Seems like a solution in search of a problem.

    Also supposedly it has two stages. Even though I’m pretty sure their graphic is, as you noticed, just a 3D model of an AMRAAM.

  • Yeah I think this is glorified clip art.

  • Public domain models would be a lot cheaper than doing real work. 🙂

  • JamesG

    Work smarter not harder.
    But the world is overflowing with product ideas/designs/dreams that only exist, and are presented as credible/practical, with slick computer rendered illustrations.

  • Jacob Samorodin

    The USAF did something like this way back in 1958. Details are sketchy though. Only after the Freedom of Information Act came into being was this successful launch of a microsat into orbit revealed. Microsat; what else could it have been back in 1958 when with the exception of the 500 kg Sputnik 2 and 1200 kg Sputnik 3, all successful satellites that year weighed less than 50 Ibs (22kg).

  • windbourne

    Why use a mig? Both Europe and America has fighters that can go that high.

  • JamesG

    Low cost to buy, maintain, and operate. Relatively speaking.

    It is actually a very good choice if you are going to go with airlaunch minilaunchers.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Russian aircraft are built to be reliable. Not as fancy or with the bells and whistles of U.S. or European jets, but very hardy.

  • Terry Rawnsley


  • windbourne

    buy? yes.
    Maintain or operate? Nope.
    I know several pilots with migs that they picked up for under 10K each.
    Problem is, their maintenance costs enormous according to them. And engine rebuild is far more than 10K.

  • JamesG

    Then you should price an annual and overhaul on an F-15. Oh wait… you can’t.

  • duheagle

    That is not exactly true. Russian warplanes are designed to be sturdy, damage-tolerant and to operate from dirt or grass fields if required. But the Mig-29 airframe was designed for only a fraction of the operating cycles Western fighters are designed for. That has generally been the case for Russian-designed fighters. The reason is that Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, expected to actually use its fighters in combat and saw no reason to spend money making long-lasting airframes when the planes’ expectable lifespans in combat would be quite short.

  • JamesG

    Sorry but you’re gonna need to quote a source on that since it doesn’t jive with what I know of MiG and Su airframe lifetimes and maint. schedules.

  • duheagle

    Happy to oblige.

    Look at paragraph 9 of this.

    Paragraph 2 of answer 3 here.

    Lots of stuff pretty much everywhere here.

    Paragraph 10 here.

    Paragraph 6 here.

    I got more if you want ’em.

  • JamesG

    Thanks, but a lot of Internet heresay and the service life on an aircraft is more like the mfg’s warranty (and designed obsolescence so they can sell new ones). There are vintage warbirds and Mig-21s still in military service (which are the epitome of the disposable “man in a missile”) that are still flying with many multiples of their original service hrs on them. It doesn’t mean that they will suddenly start breaking up in mid-flight (although we’ve had F-15Cs do that who were still within their service lives). It just means that the airframe needs to be inspected more and possibly rebuilt, which is usually uneconomical for a fleet, hence the replacement.

    Russian aircraft, like most things Russian have shorter maint. intervals, but that maint. is easier with lower tolerances. Its expensive for the same reason western military aircraft maint. is expensive(er). There only a few who can do it.

  • duheagle

    There are, indeed, still a lot of superannuated Soviet-era aircraft in “service” in penurious third-world air forces. The reason these can remain in “service” is that they are hardly ever actually flown, not because their service lives are any better than their sibling aircraft which were used more and retired from bigger air forces ages ago.

  • publiusr

    I guess they’re phasing out the Foxbats if they haven’t done so already.
    I would have loved to have flown in one of those.

  • JamesG

    Still got lots of 31s.