CNES Conducts R&D Challenge for Future Launch Systems

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Wednesday, 24 June, research laboratories, start-ups, PMEs and other firms presented their work contributing to the launch systems of the future to a top-level audience. In all, €750,000 worth of CNES contracts were awarded to the laureates, which each received €50,000 or €100,000 to develop their solutions.

At its Innovation Day on 7 February in Toulouse, CNES announced a Launchers R&D Challenge under its Connect by CNES initiative, in partnership with ArianeGroup and ESA, designed to ease access to funding for launch systems.

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ESA Moves Ahead on Low-cost Reusable Rocket Engine

A gas generator produced by additive layer manufacturing completed two test campaigns in 2017 and 2018 at the P8 test bench at the DLR German Aerospace Center’s Lampoldshausen testing facility which provided valuable information on the proposed innovative design. (Credit: ArianeGroup)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Prometheus is the precursor of ultra-low-cost rocket propulsion that is flexible enough to fit a fleet of new launch vehicles for any mission and will be potentially reusable.

At the Space19+ Council meeting in Seville, Spain last November, ESA received full funding to bring the current Prometheus engine design to a technical maturity suitable for industry. Developed by ArianeGroup, Prometheus is now seen as key in the effort to prepare competitive future European access to space.

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Tests Start on 3D-Printed Thrust Chamber

additively-manufactured thrust chamber. (Credit; ArianeGroup GmbH)

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ESA PR) — Based on hot-fire tests of an Expander-cycle Integrated Demonstrator (ETID) that proved the technology and methods last year, ESA, ArianeGroup and DLR German Aerospace Center have built and hot-fire tested a fully additively-manufactured thrust chamber.

This first test lasted 30 seconds and was carried out on 26 May 2020 at the DLR German Aerospace Center’s Lampoldshausen testing facility. Additional tests are planned next week. The data from this test campaign will be collected and analysed.

This fully 3D-printed thrust chamber is built in just three parts and could power the upper stages of future rockets.

Additive layer manufacturing also known as 3D-printing, allows more complex designs for higher performance, vastly reduces the number of parts in this case from hundreds to three, and speeds up production time. This reduces costs and significantly improves the competitiveness of liquid propulsion engines for European launch vehicles.

This fullscale chamber has a 3D-printed copper liner with integrated cooling channels and a high-strength jacket built on via cold-gas spraying. Its manifold and single-piece injector head are also 3D-printed. 

The production and test of these parts has been performed within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme.

European Commission, EIB Group Invest EUR 200 Million in Space Sector

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • EUR 100 million contingent loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme, a European Space Agency programme with ArianeGroup as Industrial lead contractor and design authority
  • First EUR 100 million venture capital programme under InnovFin to support innovation and growth of European smaller and medium-sized space technology companies

LUXEMBOURG (EIB PR) — The European Commission is partnering with the European Investment Bank Group, announcing EUR 200 million of investments into the EU space sector, supporting ground-breaking innovation in the industry. During the European Space Policy Conference  in Brussels, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle is signing an agreement with André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, confirming a EUR 100 million loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme.

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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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Europe’s JUICE Spacecraft Begins to Take Shape

Unpacking of JUICE primary structure in Lampoldshausen. (Credits: Airbus, ArianeGroup)

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ESA PR) — The assembly of the flight model of ESA’s JUICE spacecraft began in September, with the delivery of the spacecraft’s primary structure, followed by integration of the propulsion system that will enable the mission to reach and study Jupiter and its moons.

On 2 September, the main skeleton of JUICE was delivered to the Arianegroup facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

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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.

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Rokot Roars into Space on Next-to-last Flight

Rokot launch vehicle

A Rokot booster placed a Russian military satellite into orbit on Friday on its last mission for the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The booster lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia and successfully placed the Geo-IK-2 No.13 military mapping satellite into orbit.

“The Rokot rocket’s launch was the last one under the Defense Ministry’s program. Another one is due for Roscosmos. The rocket’s operation is over because there are plans for using an advanced type of this vehicle,” Major-General Nikolai Nestechuk told Tass.

Nestechuk did not specify what advanced booster will be used in Rokot’s place.

Rokots are an adaptation of retired SS-19 Stiletto intercontinental ballistic missiles. The booster has launched 33 times with 30 successes, two failures and one partial failure since 1990.

Rokot was formerly marketed as a commercial launcher by Eurockot Launch Services, a joint venture of Russia’s Khrunichev and ArianeGroup. However, that program ended as Russia decided to phase out the booster.

The Eurockot website says the company’s activities are “under redefinition. We will start accepting launch requests in the near future.”

Ariane 5 Orbits Communications Satellites on Third Launch of 2019

Ariane 5 lifts off with the Intelsat 5 and EDRS-C communications satellites aboard. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace marked another success for global telecommunications with launch of the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C satellites, which were deployed to geostationary transfer orbit on its latest flight using a workhorse Ariane 5.

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Ariane 6 Vulcain Engine Completes Successful Qualification Testing

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • The qualification tests of the Vulcain® 2.1 engine, which will power the Ariane 6 main stage, were completed during the 26th development test.
  • This final qualification test took place on July 16 on the P5 test stand at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen
  • Both Ariane 6 liquid propulsion engines have now completed their firing qualification tests
  • The qualification tests for the Vinci re-ignitable engine for the Ariane upper stage were completed in October 2018

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — This final qualification test, carried out on the P5 test stand at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) site in Lampoldshausen, lasted almost 11 minutes (655 seconds).

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PTScientists Files for Bankruptcy

PTScientists filed for bankruptcy on Friday, July 5, with the district court Berlin Charlottenburg.

In a press release, the former Google Lunar X Prize competitor blamed unplanned delays in the acquisition of incentives and subsidies to support its planned mission to the moon.

“Lawyer Sascha Feies has been appointed as provisional insolvency administrator,” the press release stated. “The business operations and research projects of the scientific enterprise continue to run without any restrictions during the insolvency proceedings.”

PTScientists has been working with ArianeGroup and ESA on a joint study of a future mission to the lunar surface.

“The bankruptcy petition throws us back a little in time, because we first have to secure together with the insolvency administrator, the further financing of the company,” said Robert Boehme, founder and CEO of PTScientists. “However, given our clear progress and achievements that we have demonstrated in recent months, we are well placed to emerge from the insolvency process and implement our lunar mission as planned.”











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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Ariane 6 Series Production Begins with First Batch of 14 Launchers

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

  • Production of this initial batch of Ariane 6 launchers, which are to fly during the 2021-2023 timeframe, will be in parallel with the final batch of 8 Ariane 5 launchers.
  • These first series-production Ariane 6 launchers will roll out of the ArianeGroup plants from early 2021.
  • Ariane 6 is carried out within a European Space Agency (ESA) program. The Ariane 6 maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.

EVRY-COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has signed an order with ArianeGroup to begin manufacturing the first series-production batch of 14 Ariane 6 launchers across the European space industry.

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There She Floats! RemoveDEBRIS Satellite Successfully Test Harpoon in Orbit

SURREY, UK (University of Surrey PR) — The RemoveDEBRIS satellite, one of the world’s first attempts to address the build-up of dangerous space debris, has successfully used its on-board harpoon-capture system in orbit.

The Airbus Stevenage designed harpoon featured a 1.5 metre boom deployed from the main RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft with a piece of satellite panel on the end. The harpoon was fired at 20 metres/sec to penetrate the target and demonstrate the ability of a harpoon to capture debris.

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