Small update from MaiaSpace: Maia will be capable of carrying 1,500 kg payloads to orbit in an expendable configuration. This is reduced by two-thirds to just 500 kg when it's being recovered. This shows the huge payload tax that's required for recovering these small vehicles.
Orbex just filed for a launch license actually, so any hope of "winning" seems fruitless. I mean, unless we're not counting the UK as Europe, which is honestly fair post-Brexit.
It seems that Maia will be a small branch of Arianespace (not sure TBH, could be Airbus space group) organized like a "startup" to get Maia off the ground faster and more efficiently that the usual cumbersome ESA and CNES and space ministries process. Macron is particularly obsessed with the startup model, those days... The gist of the idea is clearly to go "full startup mode" to move things faster.
Quote from: JEF_300 on 02/06/2022 06:22 amOrbex just filed for a launch license actually, so any hope of "winning" seems fruitless. I mean, unless we're not counting the UK as Europe, which is honestly fair post-Brexit.You do know that both Israel and Canada are members of ESA, right?
It is far more difficult, performance wise, to do a small reusable launcher - even a partially reusable one - than a bigger one ; so they are really going after something difficult. But obviously they did not want to make Ariane 6 irrelevant by making a partially reusable launcher of comparable performance.
From left to right. I think only the Heavy Launcher is worth developing. The smaller payloads launched by the Mini and Medium can be carried by the Heavy with RTLS to reduce costs. Instead of Very Heavy, orbital refilling should be used to increase performance above that of Heavy.Mini Launcher - 3 Prometheus engines on first stage, lightweight second stage.Medium Launcher - 5 Prometheus engines on first stage, 1 Prometheus engine on second stage.Heavy Launcher - 9 Prometheus engines on first stage, 1 Prometheus engine on second stage.Very Heavy Launcher - Heavy Launcher with two Mini Launcher boosters.Crewed Launcher - Heavy Launcher with SUSIE.
French PM Elizabeth Borne spoke at IAC: France will pour 9 billion euros into its space program(s) - ESA and CNES - within the next three years.
Now that RocketLabs has switched Archimedes to an 890kN ORSC methalox with a launch target of 2024, will ESA insist on gas generator Prometheus? It would look like SpaceX, Blue, ULA and RocketLabs are doing reusable staged combustion methalox. RFA is also doing SC, albeit in kerolox. Getting reusability right needs lots of extra delta-v. And if they don't pull a Merlin-like efficiency out of gas generator, they will be in quite a bit of trouble.
I think Europe requires 5 sizes of launchers. (and several suborbital rockets)