The goal to reach “Space X”: Europe will soon receive the first “environmental” rockets
The company “ArianeGroup” provided financing for the development of the first European rocket launch systems that can be used multiple times and are also environmentally friendly.
Our website, Picuki News, best known for the models “Ariane 5” and the announced “Ariane 6”, announced that it has the approval to implement a project that will be financed by the European Commission, as part of the “Horizon Europe” program, which is designed to encourage and accelerate innovation on the Old Continent.
In 2019, the European Commission and member states confirmed the Agenda for Strategic Research and Innovation to support the competitiveness of the European space industry through the “Horizon Europe” program.
The program aims to significantly reduce the cost of access to space and hopes to expand new commercial space transport offerings to enable market development, reports Euronews Next.
This is precisely why the EU has published two large calls for tenders in 2021, following a broad consensus that environmental sustainability and the possibility of multiple uses of materials are necessary for the space industry.
As a direct result of this process, “ArianeGroup” will lead the projects SALTO (Technologies and Operations for Strategic Space Launch Devices for Reusable) and ENLIGHTEN (European Initiative for Low Cost, Innovative and Green High Thrust Engines). The financing for the two projects will amount to a total of 56.4 million euros.
Europe in the race with the company “Space X”
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire visited the company’s missile testing site in Normandy in December last year and said then the new launch systems should be ready by 2026.
“For the first time, Europe will have access to a reusable launcher. In other words, we will have our own SpaceX, and our own Falcon 9,” Le Maire said at the time.
With this, at the same time, he “admitted” that Europe is to a certain extent lagging behind the company headed by Elon Musk (which is a pioneer of this technology), and the intention is to catch up.
The new reusable rockets are expected to take off from the former Diamond missile launch pad in French Guiana in just four years. Although the deadline is short, “ArianeGroup” says it is feasible because their engineers are working on a good foundation.
The technology is already being used on ESA’s (European Space Agency) reusable rocket demonstrator Themis, as well as its Prometheus reusable engine.
Vertical landing tests
The SALTO project will carry out the first tests of the Temis reusable launcher prototype in Sweden over the next two years, with a budget of 39 million euros and contributions from 26 partners from 12 different countries.
The project aims to validate the very complex landing phase, which is necessary for the recovery of the launch system.
The tests are being prepared in cooperation with ESA, together with the “Callisto” project sponsored by the space agencies of France (CNES), Germany (DLR), and Japan (JAXA).
Testing green launchers
On the other hand, the goal of the ENLIGHTEN project is to develop and test advanced technologies for the production and application of reusable rocket engines, with a budget of 17.4 million euros and contributions from 18 partners from eight countries (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal).
This project will strengthen initiatives for new propulsion systems to create a European family of reusable high-power engines using biomethane, or “green hydrogen”.
The goal is to continue the development of key rocket engine technologies, such as additive manufacturing and artificial intelligence, which are essential for monitoring and maintaining reusable engine applications.