In Europe, the reuse of launchers is now possible. On December 15, the first phase of developing of THEMIS reusable launcher demonstrator was launched.
European Space Agency and Ariane Group signed a 33 million euros contract for this project.
THEMIS, this first-stage demonstrator, based on three potentially reusable PROMETHEUS engines, and which operates with less polluting energies, functioning with 130 tons of liquid oxygen, methane/hydrogen, would contribute to energy transition towards an eco-responsible space launcher industry.
In competition with its American rival, Europe’s space sector is taking up technological challenge of developing its future launchers and should normally opt for economical reusable launchers by 2030.
The main goal to this end is to perpetuate access to low-cost space and increase the flexibility of Europe in terms of launchers services offers.
Practically, the initial phase of developing this program is then a technological demonstration of THEMIS through bench tests and preparing the spacecraft for suborbital demonstrator flights by 2023.
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