Airbus consortium to develop next generation Ariane 6

August 12, 2015
An Ariane 5 rocket carrying two satellites, Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a, is on the launch pad on February 6, 2013 at t
An Ariane 5 rocket carrying two satellites, Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a, is on the launch pad on February 6, 2013 at the European space centre of Kourou, French Guiana

The European Space Agency has tapped Airbus Safran Launchers to build a new-generation Ariane 6 rocket launcher by 2020 for 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion), ESA said Wednesday.

Contracts signed Wednesday "cover all development work on Ariane 6 and its launch base for a maiden flight in 2020," ESA said in a statement.

ASL noted that Ariane 6 is slated to reach "full operational capacity" in 2023 under the deal.

ESA also stated that European Launch Vehicle would develop the Vega C launch system for its 2018 debut, at a cost of 395 million euros.

The contract for the Ariane 6 launch base totals 600 million euros, ESA said, adding that the deals were signed by ASL, ELV and the French CNES.

Explore further: France raises heat on decision for next Ariane rocket

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Max5000
not rated yet Aug 12, 2015
Nice. But what about the reusable concept stage for Ariane 6 launched with much fanfare by Airbus called Adeline. This seems an important part now that some big US competitors are working on a reusable first stages of their own. Even though main rival Spacex has not proven it to work.

But possible taking large parts of Ariane/Airbus business if proven successful AND actually resulting in lower launch costs. The Adeline timetable was for a 2025 first launch. That is only 2 years after Ariane 6 would reach full operational capacity. Are they going to wait for the competitors to first prove working systems before spending any money on it. The political way? Seems a mistake.
javjav
not rated yet Aug 12, 2015
Adeline is planned as a later upgrade to Ariane 6 first stage, somewhere betwen 2025 to 2030. But the idea is to only recover the expensive parts (mainly engines). For Airbus, fuel tanks are cheaper to make than recovery & refurbishing, which also needs heavier tanks and more complex.
Also they know that they can not compete with US on technologies requiring huge budgets (SpaceX is mainly based on the transfer of NASA technologies (rockets, re-entry capsule, heat shields...), so they can be "low cost" because they don't need to pay those developments). Europeans try to specialise in areas where the US designs are weak, like launches to GTO (Ariane is the leader), with dual satelite to GTO and also with a second stage more precise and that can put satelites closer to GTO, saving huge costs to satelite manufacturers. SpaceX don't have it. The European focus on a better second stage was also demonstrated with ATV, and now even doing the service module for the US Orion capsule.
Max5000
not rated yet Aug 13, 2015
@Thanks jav, a great explanation. I wonder if Adeline could then replace the Russians engines as the global standard for of the shelf high quality main rocket engines. And then reusable/ low cost as well. That could hugely and further expand European space business. Added to that this large new contract for Airbus to build 900 satellites for One Web (though very small satellites and mostly build at their Airbus US plant) and the contract for Ariane to launch all those One Webb satellites.

Spacex its reusable system might prove to be difficult and with minor costs reductions. Even with people launched with Spacex the launch costs are now predicted (by Spacex) at 20 million per person and likely going higher. That is not the huge reduction in costs claimed years ago. On the contrary. People would still need to be the ultra millionaires to even get to space.

On top of that the global satellite industry is demanding multiple launch companies&vehicles (for safety/ launch slots, etc).
javjav
not rated yet Aug 13, 2015
In the "reusability" area the technology is a secondary aspect, decisions are based on echonomics. Different aproaches makes sense for each company, no technology is better than the others in itself.
SpaceX is small company so they need to keep it simple. They choose "fast reusability", ideally to land, refill and take off. If they succed it does not matter if the payload is reduced due to extra fuel for landing, as if launches are cheap and fast then they can compensate by doing more launches. And they are experts on rockets, so they want to solve he problem with rocket technology.
Airbus concept also makes sense. They are a big company, the people and infrastructures for transport and refurbishing are already in place. They are expert on planes, so they plan to add wings to the engines to gluide on return.
Same about fuel tanks. SpaceX needs to buy them from others, so they want to recover them. Meanwhile Airbus is a manufacuter of fuel tanks, so this cost is lower for them
javjav
not rated yet Aug 13, 2015
In the "reusability" area the technology is a secondary aspect, decisions are based on echonomics. Different aproaches makes sense for each company, no technology is better than the others in itself.
SpaceX is small company so they need to keep it simple. They choose "fast reusability", ideally to land, refill and take off. If they succed it does not matter if the payload is reduced due to extra fuel for landing, as if launches are cheap and fast then they can compensate by doing more launches. And they are experts on rockets, so they want to solve he problem with rocket technology.
Airbus concept also makes sense. They are a big company, the people and infrastructures for transport and refurbishing are already in place. They are expert on planes, so they plan to add wings to the engines to gluide on return.
Same about fuel tanks. SpaceX needs to buy them from others, so they want to recover them. Meanwhile Airbus is a manufacuter of fuel tanks, so this cost is lower for them
javjav
not rated yet Aug 13, 2015
In the "reusability" area the technology is a secondary aspect, decisions are based on echonomics. Different aproaches makes sense for each company, no technology is better than the others in itself.
SpaceX is small company so they need to keep it simple. They choose "fast reusability", ideally to land, refill and take off. If they succed it does not matter if the payload is reduced due to extra fuel for landing, as if launches are cheap and fast then they can compensate by doing more launches. And they are experts on rockets, so they want to solve he problem with rocket technology.
Airbus concept also makes sense. They are a big company, the people and infrastructures for transport and refurbishing are already in place. They are expert on planes, so they plan to add wings to the engines to gluide on return.
Same about fuel tanks. SpaceX needs to buy them from others, so they want to recover them. Meanwhile Airbus is a manufacuter of fuel tanks, so this cost is lower for them
javjav
5 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2015
Sorry for repeated messages, I lick submit several times because it was not reacting, and the edit function does not let you to delete them

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