European Space Agency upgrades the superior technology of the Ariane 6 rocket composite

MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup signed two contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) to demonstrate the technical maturity of the Ariane 6 rocket composite upper-level, while achieving lightweight , cost reduction and multi-functional features.

PHOEBUS is a project to validate the improved technology and concepts of the Ariane 6 rocket composite.

The European Space Agency signed two contracts with MT Aerospace and the Ariana Group. MT Aerospace is a subsidiary of OHB, a listed space technology company, and the Ariane Group is the prime contractor for the Ariane 6 rocket.

MT Aerospace and the Ariana Group are combining the two technologies to design and test the Prototype of a Highly Optimized Black Upper Stage (PHOEBUS). To make the Ariane 6 rocket perform better and more competitive, it is necessary to explore and utilize composite technology.

PHOEBUS will enhance the maturity of the rocket’s superior manufacturing technology, reduce weight, reduce costs and improve the performance of the rocket’s upper level (allowing the synchronous track facility to add 2 tons of load capacity). Starting in 2021, these technologies will be applied to a higher-level display that verifies the compatibility of the system with fuel (large-scale liquid oxygen and hydrogen) and demonstrates the uniformity between the filling and discharging process and the primary and secondary structures.

In order to demonstrate the maturity of the technology, the two companies have worked closely together. The Arianna Group’s focus will be on rocket top-level structural innovation and system optimization, while MT Aerospace focuses on the development of composite tanks and structural components at low temperatures. This will pave the way for the development of the “Innovative Carbon Fiber Composites Ariane Upper Class” (Icarus) product. At the Space 19+ conference held at the end of the year, the European Aerospace Partial Committee will decide whether to further increase the carbon fiber composites above-level project.

Explanation of terms:

The upper level is the first level or higher of the multi-stage rocket, usually the second or third level. The role of the upper stage is between the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. It has both autonomous orbital maneuverability and long flight time in orbit. It can generally start ignition multiple times to meet different launch mission requirements and can load one or more loads. It is sent to the designated orbit and is called “Space Bus” or “Space Shuttle Bus”.