ArianeWorks is in charge of imagining the Ariane launchers of the future
– News of April 23, 2019 –
Europe seems already well engaged on the after Ariane 6. At the end of February, we learned the creation of ArianeWorks, a small structure which should allow to accelerate certain developments, a little like a start-up nestled within the gigantic group industrial. ArianeWorks should initially focus on the development of Themis, a demonstrator of reusable launchers. It will rely on the methane engine Prometheus and the experience garnered by Callisto, another small demonstrator that could fly as early as next year.
Themis is expected to serve as a base for Ariane Next, the successor to Ariane 6. The goal is to incorporate the latest technologies into the next European heavy launcher, including the retro-propulsive landing and the methane engine. But the development schedule remains uncertain. Ariane 6 was designed in 2014 to face SpaceX. The battle may be complicated in the 2020s, however, and the offer of Elon Musk’s company is changing fast. Let’s hope that Ariane Next will be designed with a controlled risk philosophy.
In this sense, the creation of ArianeWorks is rather a good sign. The small structure should be able to explore new trends and new technologies to make decisions quickly.
Picture by Arianegroup