The European company ArianeGroup will develop a small reusable launcher, to compete in particular with the Americans from SpaceX, the pioneers of this technology, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Monday, December 6.
→ Read. Airspace: Turbulence on Ariane’s Horizon
this launcher “It should be able to work in 2026”, the minister said during a visit to the Normandy Ariane Group site in Vernon, in the Eur region, where especially large Ariane missile engines are being tested.
Europe “We missed the role of a reusable launcher, we didn’t believe it, we lag behind our American partners who developed SpaceX and Falcon 9, and this delay must be compensated for.”Bruno Le Maire admitted to introducing France’s new space strategy.
This strategy also includes the ambition to develop Precision launchers, which can also be reused, and to incorporate young shoots into this ecosystem.
Vernon, whose employees were concerned about the fallout from ArianeGroup’s September announcements of 600 job cuts in France and Germany, aims to increase the workforce, promised the minister, who was surveying his electoral grounds. “Today there are just over 800 jobs on Vernon’s website, and by 2025 there will be nearly 1,000.”Bruno Le Maire reassured.
→ analysis. Airspace: Turbulence on Ariane’s Horizon
Admittedly, the site will lose the Vinci engine, one of those equipping Ariane 6, but the activity will be provided by the futuristic heavy engine Prometheus and the return of the activity “turbo engines”Bruno Le Maire confirmed, in addition to the future small reusable launcher, which will nevertheless be in competition with other European projects, in particular German ones.
The minister said Vernon will also be where hydrogen production from renewable electricity sources will develop. A joint venture between Safran and Airbus, ArianeGroup is currently preparing its future Ariane 6 heavy bomber, which is scheduled for launch in the second half of next year.
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