Author Topic: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates  (Read 117089 times)

Offline arkaska

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #40 on: 08/26/2012 01:39 am »
Ariane(space) has four big advantages over SpaceX - a high energy upper stage, an equatorial launch site, a long record of success, and decades of responsive interaction with its customers. 

SpaceX also has some advantages: only two stages (Ariane has 4) and great commonality between those stages, no solids or hard cryogens, and SpaceX is not subject to ESA's geographical return policy.

Even if you count the boosters as a first stage (which it's not) the Ariane does not have 4 stages.

And secondly if you had read the thread you are posting in you would know that ESA is trying to get rid of the geographical return policy for the next vehicle.

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #41 on: 08/26/2012 08:09 am »
I think if ESA has to support a new vehicle now, then it should be Skylon. If it works (and from todays standpoint there is a good chance it will) this will be the future. The Ariane 6 would just be a huge waste of money then.

I agree.
<snip>
Skylon, on the other hand, can really bring launch costs down to much lower levels, AND it will still allow bigger payloads than Ariane 6/NGL, AND it will be man-rated and there are plans for passenger module for it, so it could also finally be ESA's first manned vehicle. It just needs more R&D money, but there will be private investors participating on funding it.

So, ESA should just put all "long-term eggs" into the Skylon-basket, funding maybe something like 25% of it's development, so that it needs less private investor money. (and propably it would be easier to get those private investors, if ESA would participate(unless they mess it up by requiring too much control))


But Ariane 5 ME would be the reasonable upgrade for time when Skylon is not yet ready, and AFAIK the Skylon upper stage(needed for GTO/GSO/BEO) was going to use the Vinci engine of Ariane 5 ME so their development support each others?


This all assumes that Skylon will actually ever fly. Apart from that: it's up to ESA to decide what they should do best with their development money.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #42 on: 08/26/2012 09:14 am »
Even if you count the boosters as a first stage (which it's not) the Ariane does not have 4 stages.

Of course the boosters are a separate stage, and yes Ariane does have 4 stages: the SRBs, the EPC, ESC-A and EPS. Only three of them fly at a time, but ESA/Arianespace has to deal with the costs and complexity of all four.

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And secondly if you had read the thread you are posting in you would know that ESA is trying to get rid of the geographical return policy for the next vehicle.

Don't patronise me. I'm aware they want to change the policy, but it's not going to happen any time soon.
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Offline arkaska

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #43 on: 08/26/2012 09:41 am »

Of course the boosters are a separate stage, and yes Ariane does have 4 stages: the SRBs, the EPC, ESC-A and EPS. Only three of them fly at a time, but ESA/Arianespace has to deal with the costs and complexity of all four.

In that case SpaceX have to deal with the cost and complexity of cross-feed for Falcon 9H.

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Don't patronise me. I'm aware they want to change the policy, but it's not going to happen any time soon.

If Ariane 6 becomes a reality later this year the policy will change drastically. The governments of Europe will not accepts another launch vehicle relying on subsidies to survive and ESA have said that the best way to cut the production cost is to stop the geographical return policy.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #44 on: 08/26/2012 10:04 am »
In that case SpaceX have to deal with the cost and complexity of cross-feed for Falcon 9H.

True. Not nearly as costly and complex as maintaining four stages, so still a net win for SpaceX. Of course, Ed Kyle's points remain valid, but each vehicle has its own set of advantages.

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If Ariane 6 becomes a reality later this year the policy will change drastically.

It remains to be seen if the choice is going to be Ariane 6 or Ariane 5 ME. And in any event Ariane 5 is going to have to be supported until Ariane 6 comes online.

The choice is a difficult and controversial one, with decision makers being preoccupied with other much more pressing issues.

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The governments of Europe will not accepts another launch vehicle relying on subsidies to survive and ESA have said that the best way to cut the production cost is to stop the geographical return policy.

Ariane 6 will require subsidies to survive too. What has been suggested is that it should no longer be dependent on commercial markets and that it should be able to live off its monopoly on institutional launches.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #45 on: 08/26/2012 10:12 am »
Skylon, on the other hand, can really bring launch costs down to much lower levels, AND it will still allow bigger payloads than Ariane 6/NGL, AND it will be man-rated and there are plans for passenger module for it, so it could also finally be ESA's first manned vehicle.

It's also much more expensive and risky. In particular it is much more complex than Hermes, which was cancelled because of a lack of progress.

But you have to ask, what is the intended mission? It is is assured European (unmanned) access to space, not to make humanity a spacefaring civilisation. Ariane 6 could be the cheapest way to do it, but probably not while still maintaining Ariane 5 in the mean time. That suggests Ariane 5 ME, which is of course more expensive than Ariane 6 would have been. Of course, you also have to look at the development cost vs the expected savings, and I don't think there's a hope of ever recovering the investment. That again suggests Ariane 5 ME.
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #46 on: 08/26/2012 04:54 pm »
I'm not so sure ESA will drop it's geographical return policy.
ESA is controlled by the ministers of each member state responsible for the nations space program (often coupled with aeronautics and science). I think that, loosing the assurance of money they invest in the space program, being invested in their country, and such losing the multiplier and job creation benefits, will be hard to accept for them.

Next I think that mmeijeri statement copied below is incorrect.

Ariane 6 will require subsidies to survive too. What has been suggested is that it should no longer be dependent on commercial markets and that it should be able to live off its monopoly on institutional launches.

I think that the main objective of both the development of Ariane 5 ME or the Ariane 6, is to reduce the need of 120 million Euro each year to sustain ESA's independent access to space. And also lowering the cost per launch, and maintaining the market-share.

I think that getting independent of commercial market (with is about 70% of Arianespace's market) will at least triple the yearly subsidization in any circumstance. The reason for this is that each launch pays a portion of the fixed costs of maintaining the production facility's and the launch zone in France Guiana. Loosing about 70% of the launches will coincide with a substantial increase in cost per launch, or if the launch cost is fixed additional need for subsidization.

Both the A5-ME and A6 lower the component count.
A5-ME will develop a new restart-able upper stage that will replace the current two upper stages (EPS and ESC-A). So three components (first stage EPC, second stage  ESC-B and Boosters [solid] EAP)
All proposals for the A6 (NGL program) I've seen have three components:
- a first stage,
- a second stage
- and boosters (to increase the launch capacity).
source: http://www.congrex.nl/08m35/papers/IAC-08.D2.4.4.pdf

Besides the A5 or A6, ESA also has to maintain the Vega launch capability , so ESA has independent access to space for small satelites. The current Vega has 4 stages /components, but there are plans to lower this to three.

The additional benefit of A6 over A5-ME, is that the A6 will also serve the market of the Soyuz. With the A6 the assets for the soyuz doesn't have to be maintained and ESA gets real independent access to space in all weight classes.

So in total ESA and the European space industry have to maintain production capability for eight stages and three launch sites (also the Soyuz launch pad) in the current situation. The A5-ME, A6 and Vega Evolution (LYRA and VENUS) will respectively change the situation as following:
A5-ME: Decrease the amount of stages by one.
A6:      Decrease the amount of stages and launch zones by one.
VEGA EV.: Maybe one less stage and or one less launch zone (dependent on the chosen updated configuration.

The driving factor for the need and burden of maintaining launch capability, is the fact that one of ESA goals is to providing independent access to space for Europe. The only thing that can be done is to minimize the money required for this. Commercial market is a tool for this. And the danger with A5-ME is that SpaceX or other newcomers will decrease the commercial market share a lot. This will result in a decreased flight number coincided with increased cost for ESA.
I think that the A6 can better compete with the other launchers (F9, Angara, Antares, 2 US EELV's, enz.)
 
Therefor I hope the European space ministers will be wise enough to chose the development program that will be cheapest on the long run. And not for the cheapest short term solution.           

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #47 on: 08/26/2012 05:26 pm »
I'm not so sure ESA will drop it's geographical return policy.
ESA is controlled by the ministers of each member state responsible for the nations space program (often coupled with aeronautics and science). I think that, loosing the assurance of money they invest in the space program, being invested in their country, and such losing the multiplier and job creation benefits, will be hard to accept for them.

Yes. On the other hand, the growing relationship with the EU may change that. While ESA is not an agency of the EU, most of its member states are also in the EU and contribute the bulk of the budget. If I understand it correctly, EU nations have recently decided to coordinate their decisions related to ESA through the EU, where decisions are taken by qualified majority.

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I think that the main objective of both the development of Ariane 5 ME or the Ariane 6, is to reduce the need of 120 million Euro each year to sustain ESA's independent access to space. And also lowering the cost per launch, and maintaining the market-share.

The two statements are not contradictory. Also, while what you say is what ESA / Arianespace say, I think there's a decent amount of spin involved. The real figure is higher than 120M, in part because ESA pays for CSG in Kourou, but also because the commercial launches are actually profitable once you subtract fixed costs. There's a 120M yearly shortfall, but without the commercial flights the cost of assured access to space would be much higher. Arianespace is basically selling off its excess capacity (the part it doesn't need for institutional launches) to recover some of the costs.

If Ariane loses market share, yearly costs could go up dramatically. On the other hand, if fixed costs are reduced dramatically by eliminating the solids, Ariane 6 could be "profitable" on institutional launches only. And it would have a monopoly on such launches. This is what the French government wants. The Italians would prefer to increase the utilisation of the solids infrastructure through Vega, which wouldn't reduce its costs, but would redirect money that is currently spent outside ESA towards the Ariane / Vega industrial base. And of course national space agencies and industry also have their economic interests, which skews Italian policy in favour of Vega and an Ares-I like successor to Ariane, German policy in the direction of Ariane 5 ME and French policy in the direction of Ariane 6. Notably the British government shows few signs of wanting to support Skylon.

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I think that getting independent of commercial market (with is about 70% of Arianespace's market) will at least triple the yearly subsidization in any circumstance.

Only if you keep the solids, which is not what the French want for Ariane 6.

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A5-ME will develop a new restart-able upper stage that will replace the current two upper stages (EPS and ESC-A).

Note that this is partially a bookkeeping operation if the EPS workforce is subsequently put to work on an Orion SM or some other ATV-derived spacecraft.
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #48 on: 08/26/2012 05:31 pm »
In my previous post I didn't mention Skylon because I don't know much off it. But from what I've read about it (a single stage to orbit with a totally new, engine type.) it seems much more advanced and complex than A5-ME or A6. Therefor developing it is much more risky than A5-ME or A6.
And launching it will be much more risky at first. This will cause much higher insurance costs. (an aspect that's overlooked by lots of people)   

ArianeSpace (ESA) has earned this market-share because of two things.
One: the insurance cost are much less than that of competitors. (This is the result of the highly successful flight record of their products.)
Two: Arianespace (and ESA) have build an infrastructure at France Guiana where satellites can be prepared for launch really well.
This satellite preparation aspect is also overlooked by a lot of people.

When Arianespace is awarded a mission, the satellite preparation is incorporated it the launch price. SpaceX doesn't offer satellite preparation at the moment so that isn't incorporated in the launch price. The costumer has to buy this service elsewhere. The disadvantage of this, is that the reliability of the satellite preparation and integration is less reliable, and therefor the probability of failure is higher. This coincides with higher insurance costs.

This is a reason I don't fear the demand decrease as much.

     

Offline woods170

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #49 on: 08/26/2012 06:56 pm »
The real figure is higher than 120M, in part because ESA pays for CSG in Kourou, but also because the commercial launches are actually profitable once you subtract fixed costs. There's a 120M yearly shortfall, but without the commercial flights the cost of assured access to space would be much higher. Arianespace is basically selling off its excess capacity (the part it doesn't need for institutional launches) to recover some of the costs.

Wrong, it's actually the other way around. Arianespace is primarily about selling commercial launches with some of it's capacity 'reserved' by ESA for institutional launches.

ESA pays for the development of the launcher, with ESA being the development agency. Once the launcher becomes operational, the responsibility for the launcher (both production and operation) is handed over to Arianespace, under the condition that ESA holds the right to 'reserve' launch-capacity for it's institutional launches. However, just like other Arianespace customers, ESA pays Arianespace for the launch-service provided.

Arianespace is a commercial operation, with the French space agency CNES being it's largest share-holder, and EADS Astrium second. The latter also is the biggest single contractor for the Ariane launcher.
Money made from Ariane launches does not flow to ESA, but to it's share-holders. It's biggest share-holder, CNES, also happens to be the biggest single contributing agency to ESA.

So, the relationship between Arianespace, national agencies and ESA is somewhat complex.

The yearly shortfall is compensated by ESA to keep it's assured access to space intact. It is basically a subsidy to keep the right to 'reserve' launch-capacity.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #50 on: 08/26/2012 07:10 pm »
Wrong, it's actually the other way around. Arianespace is primarily about selling commercial launches with some of it's capacity 'reserved' by ESA for institutional launches.

Not wrong, and not in contradiction to what you said either.

Arianespace couldn't exist without the 120M in explicit subsidies, and the implicit subsidies in the form of the right to use of CSG, the design of Ariane 5 and a monopoly on institutional payloads. The willingness of European governments to pay for assured access to space is the reason it exists. The fact that most of Arianespace's business is commercial doesn't take away from that. Arianespace is not a commercially viable company without the various explicit and implicit subsidies.

However, the fact that most of Ariane's payloads are commercial and the fact that the commercial launches are profitable on a variable cost basis does mean that losing market share could be very painful for Arianespace.

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Money made from Ariane launches does not flow to ESA, but to it's share-holders. It's biggest share-holder, CNES, also happens to be the biggest single contributing agency to ESA.

Sure, but it doesn't really matter because if Arianespace loses market share on the commercial market, then, if its cost structure doesn't change, ESA (or perhaps the EU) will have to make up the shortfall anyway if they want to keep assured access to space.

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So, the relationship between Arianespace, national agencies and ESA is somewhat complex.

Absolutely.

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The yearly shortfall is compensated by ESA to keep it's assured access to space intact. It is basically a subsidy to keep the right to 'reserve' launch-capacity.

Yes, and the way things are looking the price it will have to pay for that will go up dramatically.
« Last Edit: 08/26/2012 07:12 pm by mmeijeri »
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Offline hkultala

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #51 on: 08/26/2012 07:42 pm »

[offtopic]

In my previous post I didn't mention Skylon because I don't know much off it. But from what I've read about it (a single stage to orbit with a totally new, engine type.) it seems much more advanced and complex than A5-ME or A6. Therefor developing it is much more risky than A5-ME or A6.
And launching it will be much more risky at first. This will cause much higher insurance costs. (an aspect that's overlooked by lots of people)   

Actually launching on skylon will be much less risky, because
1) it has much better abort modes; If there is an engine problem, it may be able to just glide or fly on limited power back home, with the payload, which can then be launched on another time.

2) And because skylon is fully reusable, it can be "cheaply" tested _many_ times until they start flying real payloads for it. Just like normal aeroplanes. Testing does not destroy it(unless it fails)

[/offtopic]


Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #52 on: 08/26/2012 08:21 pm »
mmeijeri, I disagree with you on two things:

First on the following statement I think you're mistaken.

...
If Ariane loses market share, yearly costs could go up dramatically. On the other hand, if fixed costs are reduced dramatically by eliminating the solids, Ariane 6 could be "profitable" on institutional launches only. And it would have a monopoly on such launches. This is what the French government wants. The Italians would prefer to increase the utilisation of the solids infrastructure through Vega, which wouldn't reduce its costs, but would redirect money that is currently spent outside ESA towards the Ariane / Vega industrial base. And of course national space agencies and industry also have their economic interests, which skews Italian policy in favour of Vega and an Ares-I like successor to Ariane, German policy in the direction of Ariane 5 ME and French policy in the direction of Ariane 6. Notably the British government shows few signs of wanting to support Skylon.

France is directing very strongly towards solids. I think this is the reason why all the A6 (NGL) concepts have solid SRB's (boosters) to increase launch capability. France needs Solid rocket engines to maintain its ICBM production capability. (I've read this earlier on NSF, but I can't remember exactly where. It was here or on the A6 thread)     

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Note that this is partially a bookkeeping operation if the EPS workforce is subsequently put to work on an Orion SM or some other ATV-derived spacecraft.
In principle this statement is correct, but the Orion SM will be derived form the ATV (as you mentioned) not EPS. So for the Launchers the number of stages will drop. Right now ESA also needs the ATV SM infrastructure for the SM.
Also note that developing the Orion SM is part of a human spacecraft not a satellite launcher. The funding for the Orion SM or ATV evolution is completely independent of the launcher program(s).   
So the move of workforce is a move form the launchers to the Human spacecraft program. This will save money on the launchers side.

As you most likely know all different ESA member-states can chose in which programs they will participate. Although there are some mandatory programs (of with NGL/FLPP [the concept study and technology development] is one).     

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #53 on: 08/26/2012 08:50 pm »

[offtopic]

In my previous post I didn't mention Skylon because I don't know much off it. But from what I've read about it (a single stage to orbit with a totally new, engine type.) it seems much more advanced and complex than A5-ME or A6. Therefor developing it is much more risky than A5-ME or A6.
And launching it will be much more risky at first. This will cause much higher insurance costs. (an aspect that's overlooked by lots of people)   

Actually launching on skylon will be much less risky, because
1) it has much better abort modes; If there is an engine problem, it may be able to just glide or fly on limited power back home, with the payload, which can then be launched on another time.

2) And because skylon is fully reusable, it can be "cheaply" tested _many_ times until they start flying real payloads for it. Just like normal aeroplanes. Testing does not destroy it(unless it fails)

[/offtopic]


Indeed its a little of topic. I'm sorry.

What I meant by higher risk associated with Skylon compared with A5-ME or A6, was that the change of failing the system development is much higher. This is caused by the fact that the technology maturity is much lower for Skylon than for A5-ME or A6.

Exactly this was what went wrong with the Hermes program. The cost skyrocketed because the technology development lagged behind. If ESA had chosen a (simple) capsule design. (with Simple I mean with less advanced more mature technologies, of with ESA had tested most.)
ESA would, most likely, have had human launch capability by the beginning of this decade.

I think ESA´s existence would be at danger, when they would ever start another program like Hermes.

The EXPERT and IXV are technology maturation projects. They mature the reentry technology. After these programs the chance of success for the development of a mini shuttle like spacecraft (such as Hermes) would be a lot higher.

So Skylon is something for the 2040-2050 time frame. First a lot of technologies need to be developed and matured for it, and that takes time!
A5-ME and A6 should be operational by 2020 to 2025. And they have to ensure ESA's access to space for the 2015-2040 'ish time-frame.

A5-ME / A6 first than more advanced (like Skylon)!
Better be safe than sorry!
That's how I think about it.     
« Last Edit: 08/26/2012 08:51 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #54 on: 08/26/2012 08:52 pm »
mmeijeri, I disagree with you on two things:
France is directing very strongly towards solids. I think this is the reason why all the A6 (NGL) concepts have solid SRB's (boosters) to increase launch capability.

Much smaller unsegmented SRBs I think, and only for larger payloads, not for the payloads in the institutional mass range.

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France needs Solid rocket engines to maintain its ICBM production capability. (I've read this earlier on NSF, but I can't remember exactly where. It was here or on the A6 thread)

The SLBM connection has puzzled me, for the reason you mention. Still I do believe French interests want to get rid of the high fixed costs of the SRBs, even though that does seem to be at odds with the technology sharing with SLBMs. The infrastructure for that is probably maintained by the French department of defense, since I can't see them relying on ESA or the Italians for that. Are the Regulus facilities in Kourou used for the production of the SLBMs, or are there separate facilities in mainland France?

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So the move of workforce is a move form the launchers to the Human spacecraft program. This will save money on the launchers side.

Correct, so this would be better for Arianespace, but not necessarily for ESA.
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #55 on: 08/26/2012 09:12 pm »

Offline hektor

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #56 on: 10/04/2012 01:30 pm »
Lengthy Ariane Standoff a Threat to European Space Program, OHB Says

http://www.spacenews.com/launch/121003-ariane-standoff-euro-space.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #57 on: 12/01/2012 12:18 pm »
These are tests on engine level w/o stage (see http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=9314.0;all for some info about the steam generators).

Ha, straight from the horse's mouth! Can you give some insight into local thinking about this in Lampoldshausen?

ESA's current intent is to build a new test stand here in Lampoldshausen. As far as I know Plum Brook Station is an offer by NASA to ESA. But as a Vulcain-2 and Vinci test director, I would very much appreciate to test a whole new stage (instead of engine only).
The last time this was done in Lampoldshausen was back in the 1970s and 80s with the 2nd stage of Ariane 1 and the PAL liquid boosters of Ariane 4.

According to this article, Germany is pushing to make the tests in Lampoldshausen.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/esa-germany-split-on-testing-ariane-5-me-upper-stage-in-us#.ULn-SIaBx-w

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #58 on: 02/02/2013 05:21 pm »
http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/press_centre/astrium-wins-contracts-to-design-ariane-6-and-continue-development-of-ariane-5.html

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company, €108 million worth of prime contractor agreements covering the development of the Ariane 6 and Ariane 5 ME launchers. The contracts follow on from the decisions reached at the ESA Ministerial Council meeting in Naples on 20-21 November 2012.

Offline cheesybagel

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Re: ESA - Ariane 5 ME updates
« Reply #59 on: 02/05/2013 06:27 am »
To answer a question someone here asked before the difference between the ESC-B and Ariane 5 ME upper stages is they cheapened out on the stage modifications that would have made the structures lighter but it still is powered by the Vinci LOX/LH2 expander cycle engine. This is a crucial technology for spaceflight and I am glad it seems it will be saved.

Vinci will provide ESA with an efficient multiple-restartable upper stage engine with twice the thrust of the US RL-10. This can be used to launch satellite constellations like Galileo cheaper or it can be used to target payloads to more far away destinations than possible today.

What ESA will save on solid rocket R&D for Ariane 6 they will spend on the launches. They will get more catastrophic failures modes, increased flight insurance costs, worse vibration environment, they will probably need an extra stage because of the lousy ISP of solids, etc. Commercial clients launch on Ariane 5 not because it is cheap but because it is reliable. If they wanted cheap they would go to Khrunichev and buy a Proton.

The people interested in the solid technology as related to the SLBM program are better served by funding improved versions of Vega and getting their hands out of the Ariane program.

Still this was to be expected. Out of the three largest contributors: France, Germany, Italy two of them are interested in the solid technology base. The current economic crisis has cut short any expectations of developing a new large liquid rocket engine any time soon.

I hope ESA will eventually stop turtling up and develop a new reusable first stage liquid fueled rocket engine be it the LOX/Methane staged combustion engine they were investigating with the Russians or something like the expander bleed LOX/LH2 engines the Japanese are contemplating (LE-X). Otherwise their competition: read SpaceX, Khrunichev, and the Chinese will. They all are developing modular liquid fueled rocket families. ESA is the only one persisting on the Ares fail train.

The same cutbacks happened after the German reunification killed funding for the Columbus MTFF. The result was the end of a standalone European manned space program.

Too much ambition with little coordination and prototyping can be a problem as happened with Hermes but no ambition in the most powerful economic block on Earth is certainly disheartening. Don't believe me go to the CIA World Factbook.

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