FROG, an Innovative Collaborative Project on Rocket Reuse

The experimental rocket in flight. (Credit: CNES)

This experimental rocket offers a learning and development platform in the field of reusable launchers. It is developed within an associative framework bringing together CNES and university, scientific and industrial partners.

PARIS (CNES PR) — Combining in the same program a high-level collaborative and educational project and an agile experimental approach around the reuse of a miniature launcher. These are the ambitions of the FROG initiative , launched by CNES with university and association partners and start-ups. 

The program consists of developing an experimental vehicle to test guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms allowing its takeoff, stable vertical flight at low altitude and landing. By bringing together contributors from various backgrounds and specialists in their field, it aims to learn to work and innovate differently, and to harness new energies and ideas outside the traditional frameworks of space programs. 

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Luxembourg Space Agency, LIST Create European Space Resources Innovation Centre

LUXEMBOURG (LSA PR) — On 4 August 2020, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Ministry of the Economy, as the supervisory body of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), and Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in view of the creation by the end of 2020, in Luxembourg, of a “European Space Resources Innovation Centre”, called ESRIC in abbreviated form.

Signed today by the Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot, Chairman of the Board of LIST Jacques Lanners, and CEO of LIST Thomas Kallstenius, the agreement paves the way for cooperation between LSA and LIST to implement the national component of this initiative until the European Space Agency (ESA) joins the project in turn as a strategic partner as provided in the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of Space Resources signed by Luxembourg and ESA (Space19 +) during the ESA meeting of the ministerial council in November 2019 in Seville.

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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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Arianespace, ESA Sign Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer Launch Contract

This new artist’s impression of ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer depicts the final spacecraft design, the construction of which is being overseen by Airbus Defence and Space. (Credit: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Jupiter: NASA/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Ganymede: NASA/JPL; Io: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; Callisto and Europa: NASA/JPL/DLR)

PARIS, 17 June 2019 (ESA PR) — The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, will ride into space on an Ariane launch vehicle, Arianespace and ESA confirmed today at the International Paris Air Show.

Juice is the first large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 programme. Its mission is devoted to complete a unique tour of the Jupiter system.

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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.

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