Author Topic: Ariane 6 Discussion Thread: Place Your Ariane 6 Discussions Here  (Read 940200 times)

Offline DanClemmensen

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The businesscase for LEO comsat constellations has not been proven. 

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SpaceX runs a profitable business providing high speed, low latency global internet access to about 2 million customers.   It's called Starlink.   You should check it out.

Also Iridium has been around a long time, and is currently profitable.
SpaceX has asserted that Starlink is now cash-flow positive.  This is a good sign but is not necessarily the same as "profitable", which can get really murky, especially when the launch company, the satellite manufacturing company, and the satellite Internet operating company are all the same company. But yes, It looks like a spectacular success which will show a very rapid increase in profits.

This says very little about the profit potential of a new constellation. The up-front costs are horrendous, and Starlink is already in place.

Offline TrevorMonty



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The businesscase for LEO comsat constellations has not been proven. 

...

SpaceX runs a profitable business providing high speed, low latency global internet access to about 2 million customers.   It's called Starlink.   You should check it out.

Also Iridium has been around a long time, and is currently profitable.

Research Iridium constellation history and you will discover it wouldn't be profitable if it still had to repay original $5B investment.

Online TheKutKu

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Arianegroup broke production contract, they didn't take delivery of products the ordered.


In my opinion; it could be justified that ESA memberstate cover the cost to maintain the CSG launch range. AFAIK the USAF covers this for the USA launch zones. But I think that would cost less than the up to 350mln annual public contribution to maintain Ariane6 launch capability. I fear several Ariane 6 launch contracts have already been sold below launch service cost, so at a loss to Arianegroup. (ArianeGroup pays the subcontractors for their work-packages).

Why didn't Arianegroup take delivery? They physically couldn't store the components for years? Or was it for accounting reasons.

ESA has been covering the cost of the CSG since the 70s.  It is the European space center and not the French space center for a reason, ESA has invested 760 millions euros into it for the 2020-2024 period, bo
https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2023/06/14/au-centre-spatial-guyanais-une-baisse-de-l-activite-en-attendant-la-reprise_6177681_3234.html

"Subsidies for the base from the twenty-two ESA member states is growing: 760 million euros from 2020 to 2024, "including 140 million to modernize the base", he explains, then 850 million until 2027, including 100 million "to make the CSG more flexible, more informatized and more sustainable"."


.  Arianegroup requires flight certified engines before they can commit to start development of ArianeNext.



There are already three funded improvements:
- The enlargement of the P120C solid rocket motor boosters into the P160C.
- A weight reduced upperstage by replacing the aluminium tank structures by composite tank structures. ICARUS
- The in orbit kick-stage Astris.

Hence Themis/Maiaspace, whose goal is to prepare for ArianeNext (both technically and politically), including flight testing Prometheus.

I forgot, has ICARUS officialy been funded by ESA? PHOEBUS has, of course, but I don't remember if its implementation as part of ICARUS has.



Offline Rik ISS-fan

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I forgot, has ICARUS officialy been funded by ESA? PHOEBUS has, of course, but I don't remember if its implementation as part of ICARUS has.
PHOEBUS is the technology maturation (testing and qualification program) for the Icarus stage tank structures. I think the development has not jet been fully funded. Germany took the right development approach on this (as opposed to France with the MANG and APU). They take their the required time to test and certify the composite tank structure. Only when this has been done they can start the development of the ICARUS stage and the tooling for serial production.
I also expect that the Netherlands will lose a work package with the transition from ULPM to ICARUS.
I'm oké with that, when we don't have to subsidize each and every Ariane 6.

Offline woods170

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<snip>
ESA has been covering the cost of the CSG since the 70s.  It is the European space center and not the French space center for a reason...<snip>

Three things:
- CNES is official owner of CSG
- ESA covers only two-thirds of the annual budget for CSG, including the annual lease of CSG facilities.
- ESA only owns the specific infrastructure for Ariane, Soyuz and Vega. All other stuff is property of the government of France.

CSG is as much France's spaceport as it is Europe's spaceport

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Quite logical (at least from an history point of view) as it was  opened in 1968 for Véronique and Diamant. At the time ELDO included Australia and its Woomera launch base. Europa finally came to Kourou, albeit its first (and only) launch there was a rather pathetic failure (F11, 05/11/1971: guidance went down because of electrostatic discharges not handled properly - a lesson that was remembered for Ariane )

Plus it's French Guiana - an oversea territory.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2023 05:39 pm by Emmettvonbrown »

Offline M129K

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€350m a year on top of €4 billion in development costs already paid. If A6 launches 100x in 10 years that would be ~$80m *per launch* in just subsidies… that’s more than the ENTIRE price of an F9 launch, and it still isn’t competitive!

Wrong. It would be Euro 35M in subsidies per launch. You can't add to the equation the Euro 4B in development funding. You see, that's sunk cost. And adding that to the PER LAUNCH cost equation would be you stepping into the sunk cost fallacy. That is because that Euro 4B is gone, regardless of Ariane 6 launching 100 times or just 1 time.

Getting your entire development paid for by public funds IS a form of subsidy.

No, it isn't. It is not a subsidy, because ESA is the main customer of Ariane, due to the "assured independent access to space" requirement. Without ESA requiring a launcher, none of the Ariane vehicles would have ever existed. ESA paying for the vast majority of Ariane 6 development is no different than NASA paying for the vast majority of Space Shuttle development.

Even if Ariane would have never launched commercial payloads, an Ariane launcher would have existed anyway, to serve ESA's "assured independent access to space" needs.
That particularly applies to Ariane 6: it is totally non-competitive in a world ruled by SpaceX. But despite this, ESA invested Euro 4.5B in Ariane 6 development. And on top of that ESA agreed to pay Euro 350M annually, to cover its operational costs.

Have you never wondered WHY ESA would be willing to do that?

It's not because they want Arianespace to be able to compete with SpaceX. ESA d*mn well knows that Arianespace is incapable of doing so. The reason ESA coughs up all that money is because they don't ever want Europe to be blackmailed by the USA again, like they were in the early 1970s with the Intelsat-Symphonie story.

Only when you have fully read and learned about what happened back in the 1970s, including the loss of two early European satellites in U.S. launch vehicle failures, will you be able to understand why ESA's "assured independent access to space" requirement exists and why it is one of the corner stones of ESA policy-making. Only when you have fully grasped THAT, will you be able to understand why ESA is willing to invest billions of Euros in a launcher that will never be profitable.

And ESA doing so is not a new thing. It has happened before: Ariane 5 was never profitable. Yet ESA kept that launcher going for over 25 years. Because no matter how operations and formal ownership are structured, Ariane is ESA's launcher first and a commercial launcher second.


(and that's something that Americans usually are incapable of wrapping their heads around)

To add to the Symphonie story. Recent geopolitical events again reaffirmed how important independent access to space really is. Europe has depended upon cheap Soyuz launches for medium lift launches for about two decades, partly because Ariane 5 was just far too big and expensive for those missions. That capability is now gone, and it shows how vulnerable dependence on foreign providers can make you, forcing ESA to launch on Falcon 9.

If Ariane 6 was nothing but a European Soyuz-class vehicle for Soyuz-class prices, it would still be worth most of the development costs. Any commercial satellites or heavy payloads it can lift are just a nice bonus.

Offline M129K

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I was unable to find previous discussions on this topic, so apologies if this is misplaced.

https://www.ariane.group/en/news/ariane-6-a-launcher-designed-to-evolve/

ArianeGroup has this interesting little page hidden on their website about potential upgrades to the Ariane 6 design. Ariane 5 was iteratively developed, so it should be no surprise that Ariane 6 would be as well. Some of these are rather small upgrades like increasing the booster propellant load by 10% for +2 tons to LEO, the Icarus composite upper stage at +2 tons to GTO, as well as two rather big upgrades: replacing Vulcain with two (presumably) sea level optimized Prometheus-H engines and replacing the solid P120C boosters with a Themis-derived, reusable methalox booster, powered by three Prometheus-M engines. The dual engined A62 would increase payload by another +2 tons to GTO.

Looking at this, it seems to me that ArianeGroup thinks Ariane 62 has the most potential. A dual engine, Icarus upper stage Ariane 62 would be able to lift ~8,5 tons to GTO at little extra cost.

Is there any serious material about these upgrades? Or should I interpret them mostly as notional ideas floated by a main contractor looking for development money?

Finally, I wonder if liquid flyback boosters even be politically viable. Deriving them from Themis is probably the easiest to do in the short term, but that would mean a major blow to Italy's and Avio's main contribution to the program.

Offline Zed_Noir

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I was unable to find previous discussions on this topic, so apologies if this is misplaced.

https://www.ariane.group/en/news/ariane-6-a-launcher-designed-to-evolve/

ArianeGroup has this interesting little page hidden on their website about potential upgrades to the Ariane 6 design. Ariane 5 was iteratively developed, so it should be no surprise that Ariane 6 would be as well. Some of these are rather small upgrades like increasing the booster propellant load by 10% for +2 tons to LEO, the Icarus composite upper stage at +2 tons to GTO, as well as two rather big upgrades: replacing Vulcain with two (presumably) sea level optimized Prometheus-H engines and replacing the solid P120C boosters with a Themis-derived, reusable methalox booster, powered by three Prometheus-M engines. The dual engined A62 would increase payload by another +2 tons to GTO.

Looking at this, it seems to me that ArianeGroup thinks Ariane 62 has the most potential. A dual engine, Icarus upper stage Ariane 62 would be able to lift ~8,5 tons to GTO at little extra cost.

Is there any serious material about these upgrades? Or should I interpret them mostly as notional ideas floated by a main contractor looking for development money?
<snip>
Think all the Ariane 6 upgrades mention above was discuss separately in many threads.

Getting the budget to develop them will not be easy or quick, IMO.


Online TheKutKu

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I was unable to find previous discussions on this topic, so apologies if this is misplaced.

https://www.ariane.group/en/news/ariane-6-a-launcher-designed-to-evolve/

ArianeGroup has this interesting little page hidden on their website about potential upgrades to the Ariane 6 design. Ariane 5 was iteratively developed, so it should be no surprise that Ariane 6 would be as well. Some of these are rather small upgrades like increasing the booster propellant load by 10% for +2 tons to LEO, the Icarus composite upper stage at +2 tons to GTO, as well as two rather big upgrades: replacing Vulcain with two (presumably) sea level optimized Prometheus-H engines and replacing the solid P120C boosters with a Themis-derived, reusable methalox booster, powered by three Prometheus-M engines. The dual engined A62 would increase payload by another +2 tons to GTO.

Looking at this, it seems to me that ArianeGroup thinks Ariane 62 has the most potential. A dual engine, Icarus upper stage Ariane 62 would be able to lift ~8,5 tons to GTO at little extra cost.

Is there any serious material about these upgrades? Or should I interpret them mostly as notional ideas floated by a main contractor looking for development money?

Finally, I wonder if liquid flyback boosters even be politically viable. Deriving them from Themis is probably the easiest to do in the short term, but that would mean a major blow to Italy's and Avio's main contribution to the program.

As far as I know, The last Ariane 6 Block 2/P120C+ (renamed P160C, they are also to be used on Vega-C and Vega-E giving +200kg of payload) updates are from June 2023, with Arianespace's CEO reiterating the date of H2 2025, and Avio announcing a schedule for the tests of the new boosters. Note that A6 Block 2 also has a slightly uprated Vinci engine, which I've heard nothing about.

https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/ariane-6-vers-un-premier-vol-en-avril-mai-2024-977533.html
Interestingly, since there are only 6 A6 launches planned in 2025, that the first four are planned to be A62, and that A64 Block 2 will be available in H2 2025, then it's likely that the baseline A64 will only launch 1-3 times.

---

I am not sure how viable Themis-derived boosters would be, 3 Prometheus-M are 300 tons of thrust, vs 450 tons for a P120C while Themis has similar propellant loading and probably much higher dry mass when counting the landing fuel and reuse equipment. Open cycle, medium pressure Methalox engines are also not that much more efficient than Butalane SRB at sea level. I fear it would mean a significant performance drop.

Édit: https://www.eucass.eu/component/docindexer/?task=download&id=7070

This paper estimates a 22.5% payload drop with Prometheus powered RTLS boosters on A6

« Last Edit: 12/16/2023 12:40 am by TheKutKu »

Offline HVM

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https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1735295703327322392

"... there was an abort during an Ariane 6 upper stage test last week that is still being investigated, but right now the issue would not delay the first launch in the June-July timeframe."

Offline HVM

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19 December statement from ESA

“Two minutes after the Vinci engine and APU were fired up, the test was automatically aborted when sensors detected that some parameters had gone beyond predetermined thresholds. The engines were shut down with the nominal sequence, the upper stage test model and test bench entered a safe condition, and the tanks were emptied.”

“This HFT-4 test went beyond the normal flight profile for Ariane 6. The stage will not operate in such a test configuration on the inaugural flight. Teams are analysing test hardware and investigating possible root causes of the abort, with results expected mid-January 2024.”

https://europeanspaceflight.com/ariane-6-upper-stage-test-aborted-prematurely/

Online Craigles

Quote
€40M to be Invested to Produce Greener Hydrogen for Ariane 6
By Andrew Parsonson -January 2, 2024
... via the solar-powered electrolysis of water ...
https://europeanspaceflight.com/e40m-to-be-invested-to-produce-greener-hydrogen-for-ariane-6/
I'd rather be here now

Tags: vernovela 
 

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