French space agency CNES is teaming with ArianeGroup to create an acceleration platform dedicated to laying the groundwork for future launchers.
Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of French space agency CNES, and ArianeGroup CEO André-Hubert Roussel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create an acceleration platform dedicated to the preparation of future launchers. Dubbed ArianeWorks, the new platform aims to boost innovation for future launcher development by bringing teams together under one roof and connecting them to Europe’s space ecosystem.
CNES and ArianeGroup are currently developing Ariane 6 for the European Space Agency (ESA). Since 2015, they have been working together on the Prometheus demonstrator of a future low-cost engine for European launchers. Prometheus is currently under development, with the first prototype due to be tested in two years.
CNES and ArianeGroup are also working together on the development of Callisto — a reusable first-stage demonstrator — alongside Germany (DLR) and Japan (JAXA).
With ArianeWorks, CNES and ArianeGroup are seeking to achieve a step change by creating a new kind of partnership where teams work together in a highly flexible environment, open to new players and internationally. The top priority is to accelerate the Ariane Next roadmap and in particular its first phase, the Themis demonstrator. ArianeWorks is being created in the lead up to the 2019 Ministerial Conference and its results will be made available to ESA.
As international competition intensifies, the goal, ArianeGroup CEO André-Hubert Roussel explains, is to accelerate the innovation process, in order to prepare for future developments of Ariane by involving new players and attracting new types of funding.
ArianeWorks aims to accelerate innovation at grassroots level, in favour of mid-tier firms and start-ups. Cost reductions will be a major priority. The goal is to work together closely through this first phase up to April 2020 by inspiring and involving new players, not least pioneering start-ups, laboratories, SMEs and manufacturers.
ArianeWorks is also intended to act as a pathfinder, able to accurately assess the technological context in order to make the right choices within the shortest timescales. It will adopt an approach resolutely geared towards open innovation, to encourage the exchange of expertise and spawn a ground-breaking new ecosystem.