France & Germany Pursue Reusable Rocket Technology

In addition to the Prometheus reusable rocket engine program, European officials are pursuing a program named Callisto that aims to developing a reusable booster. SpaceNews reports:

The French and German space agencies (CNES and DLR, respectively) have for the past two years collaborated on a scaled-down rocket that would allow Europe to practice different aspects of recovery and reuse. Callisto’s first flight is planned for 2020.

Callisto officials said the goal of the program is not to create a new vehicle in 2020 — the Ariane 6 is scheduled to debut that same year — but to establish a base of knowledge for future launch vehicles that could, maybe, be reusable.

“Prometheus and Callisto are two key elements of our future launcher preparatory roadmap,” Jean-Marc Astorg, head of CNES’s Launch Vehicles Directorate, told SpaceNews. “Prometheus is a new engine to equip Ariane 6 evolutions or brand-new launchers, and Callisto is developed to learn about reusability in Europe, which we have not done before. We are lacking an experience by operation of recovering a vehicle and reflying it. This is exactly what we would like to do with Callisto.”

Around 1 to 2 percent of Ariane 6’s 3.6-billion-euro ($4.3 billion) development budget is spent on Callisto, Astorg said, describing it as a “modest approach.” Callisto is still in a preliminary design phase, he said, with a full decision on the realization of the demonstrator anticipated this June.

Read the full story.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Wow, they were just shown how to do it, and they even know the customers are willing to pay for the development flights. The way proposed here should have been done by governments in the 80’s. Oh well, I’m glad they’ll give us Americans a period of monopoly to have to ourselves.

  • Aerospike

    You’re welcome! 😉

  • windbourne

    well, it is giving the monopoly to SpaceX, and later to BO.
    Oddly, ULA is so foolish that they will let everybody else get their re-usable rockets first and paid for, before they decide to do it. Hopefully, they will leave the launch industry and focus on reusable tugs and landers.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The members of ULA will only develop a reusable launch vehicle if the government pays them to do so on a cost plus contract.

  • Michael Halpern

    And cost plus is seeing a reduction in use, it’s on its way to being the exception not the rule of government contracts, in favor of fixed price with all but bleeding edge type contracts

  • windbourne

    In light of ULA’s constant cheating the gov with that, I hope cost+ will disappear.
    Obviously, it will not disappear with this admin, but maybe a future one.
    We need to return to what America did back in the 50,60s, and 70s, prior to cost+.