Ariane V ME étant dans les tuyaux, il est temps de penser à Ariane VI...
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/asd/2010/01/15/01.xml&headline=ESA Begins Work On Ariane 6&channel=space
ESA Begins Work On Ariane 6
Jan 15, 2010
By Michael A. Taverna
PARIS — European Space Agency (ESA) head Jean-Jacques Dordain says the agency does not plan any program rollbacks due to cash flow problems that are afflicting the agency, and will move aggressively to define a concept for a new heavy-lift launch vehicle that would succeed the Ariane 5.
Dordain says ESA spending has grown an average of 10 percent per year since 2006 as the agency has ramped up new programs approved at the 2005 and 2008 ministerial summits. The sum reached €3.35 billion ($4.8 billion) last year. Although this was well below the 2009 budget, fiscal shortfalls in a number of ESA member countries provoked by the ongoing financial crisis created a cash crunch, forcing the agency to borrow money to pay near-term payment obligations.
To resolve the cash flow matter, ESA will freeze spending at 2009 levels (except for Galileo FOC) through 2010 and 2011, Dordain says. In addition, the agency will attempt to negotiate new contracts with lower payments at contract signature and higher payments on delivery. Anticipated slippage in existing programs also is expected to help.
A further boost is anticipated from a new financial management system approved in December. The system, first agreed to at the 2005 summit with Galileo and other cooperative programs in mind, is intended to provide increased funding flexibility and afford cost savings, while bringing ESA practices in line with those of the European Union and other partner organizations.
Despite the payment freeze, Dordain insists the agency will not cancel any programs. On the contrary, it will seek to move forward several undertakings that are currently stalled, in particular the European Data Relay System, which ESA aims to deploy in partnership with a private operator. A final request for proposals is to be issued to the three bidders in February. The winner is to be named in May and a contract signed in November, Dordain says.
The new heavy-lift launch vehicle would replace the Ariane 5 around 2025. The European launch community says the changing market calls for a new vehicle sized more closely to fit government requirements and designed so that commercial launch needs are not central to its sustainability. The objective, Dordain says, is to arrive at the next ministerial summit in 2011 with a firm definition proposal for the new booster, known in ESA parlance as the New Generation Launcher (NGL) but commonly called the Ariane 6.
The undertaking received a major boost in December when it was named to benefit from a special French government bond issue. Valerie Pecresse, the minister in charge of space, says the bond issue will provide €250 million ($360 million) to begin definition of the Ariane 6, which is expected to cost €3.5 billion to €8 billion to develop.
Dordain says ESA has already begun studying Ariane 6 concepts with French space agency CNES and other member states using building blocks and funding provided through the Future Launcher Preparatory Program (FLPP). Dordain notes that many of the design choices remain to be made, including which type of propulsion system — cryogenic, storable propellant or advanced solid rocket — should be used. However, he says the new vehicle will almost certainly adopt the modular approach that French engineers have proposed, capable of launching three to six or seven metric tons — the upper limit of telecom satellites — to geostationary transfer orbit. This would shift the focus from dual launches, which have long been the hallmark of Arianespace, to the single launch approach followed by competing operators.
Antonio Fabrizi, the ESA launcher director, says the other member states involved in launcher activity, notably Germany and Italy, are in basic agreement with the French approach. Fabrizi notes that the French concept is itself a refinement of a 4-8 metric ton modular configuration already being studied in FLPP. “But France is providing the impetus to move forward,” he says. “Every program needs a political push.”
En attendant Ariane VI, quelques petits problèmes budgétaires imposant un emprunt et de maintenir le budget 2010 au niveau de celui de 2009.
Ariane VI c'est un premier vol pour 2025 ...
Avec les grandes lignes définies en 2011, avec un lanceur plus orienté gouvernemental que commercial
Déjà quelques pistes avec le FLPP (future launch preparatory program).
Lanceur modulaire, classe 3à 7 t en géostationnaire... donc plus de lancement doubles à priori... mais des gros lancements simples institutionnels plus faciles?
A suivre, le reste est très ouvert.