European launch provider Arianespace expects to conduct just 23 more Ariane 5 launches before the next-generation Ariane 6 becomes its primary rocket.
An internal research and development program using widely available telescopes has evolved into a space situational awareness business for ArianeGroup.
Ariane 5 is one of the world’s most reliable launcher but its makers aren’t resting on their laurels. Following the 2015 creation of Airbus Safran Launchers, a joint venture between the two main contributors to the European rocket program, the company renamed itself to ArianeGroup and embarked on a journey through the quickly changing space industry landscape.
Speaking at Space Tech Expo Europe, Marc Valés, head of future programs at ArianeGroup, said that in addition to the existing cubesat standard, 50-kilogram-class nanosatellites should also be standardized.
Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket, though designed to be expendable, could one day sport a reusable engine, according to Patrick Bonguet, head of the Ariane 6 program at ArianeGroup.
The European Space Agency began funding a reusable rocket engine anticipated to be ready for a test-fire demonstration in 2020, the same year as the first launch of the future Ariane 6 rocket.