Airbus saffron Launchers has just unveiled a new video of what will be the future European launcher, Ariane 6. The animation shows the final configuration of what will be the European rocket on its maiden flight, scheduled in 2020. If the new launcher has targets for lowering cost of launches of the order of 40 to 50%, Europeans have not chosen to equip their Launcher’s ability to return to land on Earth unlike what is know already do Blue Origin and especially his rival SpaceX. A strategic error for Arianespace?
Ariane 6 a conventional 3 stages rocket, built in 2 versions
It must fly as in 2020 if all goes well, and yet that it seems traditional this Ariane 6. It will be built in version
5 tons with 2 boosters or 10 tons with 4 boosters. While SpaceX learns gradually to return to Earth its rocket Falcon 9, Blue Origin has already reached to revive a rocket that has already left in space, consortium Airbus saffron Launchers has chosen to renounce this capability as a first step. Yet the cost reduction objective set by Arianespace is huge as it will take divide the cost by 2 term. The industrial hope to achieve by standardization of the elements of the rocket and new industrial processes.
No system of landing on the first version of Ariane 6 and yet Airbus defence & Space is working on the concept for several years now with the Adeline concept. It is more innovative even than Americans do because rather than using the Launcher engine to brake the descent on Earth of the first floor, European industry prefers to provide it with small wings and a pair of electric propellers to ensure a semi-plane flight descent. European engineers consider this as more effective than the one chosen by SpaceX. The device has the advantage of preserving the rocket engine and its potential for operating in the downhill. In addition, the rocket failed to embark at takeoff additional fuel which will be required at the time of the restart of the engine during the descent.
Among the disadvantages of Adeline, is the additional weight of the wings, electric motors and their batteries. In addition, the solution advocated by Airbus D & S retrieves only the engine compartment and not the full first floor.
Airbus D&S prepares its response to SpaceX, but not before 2022
Interviewed at the le Bourget show, Benoit Isaac, Adeline program leader at Airbus D&S stressed that the first Ariane 6 will not benefit of this system. He hopes nevertheless that wings will grow to Ariane 6 during one of the first “steps” of the rocket so in 2022, 2024 or 2025 according to the progress of research of Airbus D & S and probably commercial pressure than SpaceX will Arianespace on its launch price.
Translation : Bing Translator
Source : “Le look définitif d’Ariane 6”, Air&Cosmos, January 28, 2016