Bremen — With a total of DM 32 million, the Federal Government, the Land
of Bremen, the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Cologne), OHB System GmbH
(Bremen) and Astrium are involved in the development of a demonstrator
for reusable space transport systems to be carried out within the
framework of the national technology program ASTRA. “Development of
PHOENIX will be the first step towards the realization of a European,
reusable space transport system,” said Josef Kind, member of the board
of management of Astrium N.V. with responsibility for the Space
Infrastructure division, on the occasion of the official go-ahead for
the development of a new space transport system in Bremen on Wednesday.

The demonstrator PHOENIX is intended to prove the feasibility of a
future, reusable space transport system. The use of such a “small”
prototype is required as due to physical influences in the atmosphere
not all the design features can be demonstrated with the help of
computer simulations and wind tunnel tests. A demonstrator will also
help to cut costs in the development phase of the future space transport

Out of own funds, Astrium will invest about DM 14 million and the
medium-sized Bremen company OHB System almost DM 1 million in the
development of the flight demonstrator. The Land of Bremen is
contributing DM 10.5 million out of its technology fund. The remaining
costs will be jointly covered by the Federal Government and DLR.
Development, construction and testing are scheduled for completion by
the end of the year 2003. The demonstrator will be just under seven
meters long. It will have a wingspan of 3.8 meters, a weight of 1,200
kilograms and will be similar in appearance to the US Space Shuttle.

“Projects that are intended to safeguard Europe’s top position in the
space transport sector cannot be financed by one organization alone.
It was the interplay of Federal Government, Laender and industry that
enabled us to bring PHOENIX into being,” said Josef Kind.

Josef Hattig, Senator for Economic Affairs and Harbors of the Free
Hanseatic City of Bremen, emphasized that “through its financial
involvement amounting to DM 10.5 million the Land of Bremen will promote
German system competence in the field of European space research. The
fact that more than 90% of the development costs will flow back to
Bremen in the form of orders has confirmed me in my decision to support
the program. In addition to the Bremen-based Space Infrastructure
division of Astrium, which is responsible for the PHOENIX development,
the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the
University of Bremen and OHB are involved in the project.”

PHOENIX forms an essential part of the national program ASTRA (Selected
systems and technologies for future space transport system applications).
In addition to Astrium and DLR, companies such as MAN-Technologie,
OHB-System and Kayser-Threde, ZARM as well as three DFG special
research departments of the Technical Universities of Aachen, Munich
and Stuttgart are involved in ASTRA.

Prof. Dr. Walter Krˆll, Chairman of the German Aerospace Center: “The
ASTRA program will help to promote German system and technical
competence in the industry, at universities and DLR institutes in order
to provide a basis for the development of future-oriented concepts and
state-of-the-art technologies for a new space transport system that
will enable Germany and Europe to face severe competition in the
international markets. Technology development will particularly focus
on structures, construction, materials, propulsion systems, flight
guidance and control”.

Europe’s sustained, autonomous access to space can only be ensured by
drastically lowering the present level of transportation costs and by
improving operational flexibility, system reliability and environmental
compatibility. The already started Ariane 5 evolution program to
increase the payload capacity of the European launcher system from six
to twelve tons will reduce transportation costs considerably. However,
in the long run, from 2015, high efficiency can only be achieved by
using reusable space transport systems, continued Prof. Dr. Krˆll.

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