News India to become a manned space-faring nation in 2022. ESA could beat that.

RGClark

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Recently announced that India plans on launching a manned space mission in 2022:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/India_to_send_three-person_crew_on_landmark_space_mission_999.html

If ESA followed the approach to the Ariane 6 of using a second Vulcain on the Ariane 5 core, it could have a manned-capable launcher by that time frame, at a fraction of the multi-billion cost of the current Ariane 6 plan:

https://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2018/02/multi-vulcain-ariane-6.html

It also would not be difficult for ESA to develop it's own small crew capsule by basing it on Orbital Science's Cygnus capsule, built in Italy, given life support and heat shield. See discussion here:

https://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2013/04/budget-moon-flights-lightweight-crew.html

Bob Clark

Edit: added the fact that the Orbital Sciences Cygnus is actually built in Italy.
 
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RGClark

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ESA's methane-fueled Prometheus engine is scheduled to begin testing in 2020. The engine's designer believes it could be used to power the Ariane 6 instead of the Vulcain:

https://spacenews.com/ariane-6-could-use-reusable-prometheus-engine-designer-says/

Conceivably then you could have a fully liquid-fueled rocket by the 2022 timeframe that could launch a manned capsule.

However, the solid-rocket based Ariane 6, that is, most of the thrust is provided by two solid side-boosters without which it could not take-off, is also set to come into operation in 2020. It would be difficult then for Arianespace to undercut it's own rocket to provide a cheaper alternative that could also serve as a manned launcher. That's the problem with Europe's space launcher having a monopoly.

I don't see any way out. The only way such a fully liquid-fueled rocket could be ready by the 2022 - 2023 timeframe would be by also starting the design of the rest of the rocket besides the engines now.

Possibly one way it could happen would be for example if SpaceX becomes so successful at reusing its boosters that it greatly slashes launch prices and the ESA then is forced to accept the fact the current version of the Ariane 6 will be obsolete.

Bob Clark
 
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Urwumpe

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However, the solid-rocket based Ariane 6, that is, most of the thrust is provided by two solid side-boosters without which it could not take-off, is also set to come into operation in 2020. It would be difficult then for Arianespace to undercut it's own rocket to provide a cheaper alternative that could also serve as a manned launcher. That's the problem with Europe's space launcher having a monopoly.


Remember that the Ariane 6 as it is designed right now is not the end of all development. The project lead for the Ariane 6 already indicated in 2017, that the prometheus engine might find its way on the Ariane 6, if it meets its development goals.



The current most likely path might be integrating the Prometheus engine into a larger successor of the Callisto prototype to provide flyback boosters to Ariane 6. Both Callisto and Prometheus are currently aiming at being tested in 2020, which means both would be ready for follow-up projects at approximately the same time.

https://cnes.fr/en/callisto-0

And Arianespace does not build the rockets. You might mistake it for ArianeGroup, which is the renamed Airbus Safran Launchers company.
 

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Remember that the Ariane 6 as it is designed right now is not the end of all development. The project lead for the Ariane 6 already indicated in 2017, that the prometheus engine might find its way on the Ariane 6, if it meets its development goals.

The current most likely path might be integrating the Prometheus engine into a larger successor of the Callisto prototype to provide flyback boosters to Ariane 6. Both Callisto and Prometheus are currently aiming at being tested in 2020, which means both would be ready for follow-up projects at approximately the same time.

https://cnes.fr/en/callisto-0

And Arianespace does not build the rockets. You might mistake it for ArianeGroup, which is the renamed Airbus Safran Launchers company.

Thanks for the link on the Callisto. It will be quite small at 15 meters long and 1 meter in diameter. Since it will be hydrolox propellant that means less than 4 tons propellant load.

That's far too small for the Vulcain engine. Perhaps they will use the HM7B hydrolox upper stage engine. It has a 6 ton vacuum thrust. But being an upper stage engine it has a long nozzle that can't be operated at sea level. They would have to cut the nozzle size to operate at sea level.

Bob Clark

---------- Post added at 03:21 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:08 AM ----------

Nice report here on the Prometheus engine:

7 TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE FOR AERONAUTICS AND SPACE SCIENCES (EUCASS)
Copyright  2017 by A. Iannetti, N. Ravier. Published by the EUCASS association with permission.
PROMETHEUS, A LOX/LCH4 REUSABLE ROCKET ENGINE.
https://www.eucass.eu/doi/EUCASS2017-537.pdf

The Prometheus is expected to cost only 1 million euros, a tenth the cost of the Vulcain at approx. the same thrust level in the range of 100 tons, as well as being reusable.

The Vulcain is a great engine. European technology is once again being well represented by the development of the Prometheus engine to supersede it.

With the development of this engine it should be accompanied by one of the most difficult achievements, manned spaceflight. The ONLY thing preventing it is the political decision that the Ariane 6 has to use solid-rocket boosters.

Bob Clark
 
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4throck

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ESA could do many things, but it won't. Remember the Hermes ?

India is on the right track and actively working on hardware.
Here are some official diagrams (at 12:28) :
 

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Thanks for the link on the Callisto. It will quite small at 15 meters long and 1 meter in diameter. Since it will be hydrolox propellant that means less than 4 tons propellant load.


Maybe you should read more carefully. Its a prototype to develop flyback boosters. It should be small, especially since it is no ESA project, but a common project by CNES and DLR, who operate outside the ESA funding (and rules) there.


The vision is to replace the Ariane 6 solid rocket boosters by flyback boosters initially, since those are simply the best candidates. The lower core stage goes almost into orbit, contrary to the first stage of a Falcon 9, since the Ariane 6 is still optimized for GTO missions, not LEO.
 

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ESA's methane-fueled Prometheus engine is scheduled to begin testing in 2020. The engine's designer believes it could be used to power the Ariane 6 instead of the Vulcain:

https://spacenews.com/ariane-6-could-use-reusable-prometheus-engine-designer-says/

Conceivably then you could have a fully liquid-fueled rocket by the 2022 timeframe that could launch a manned capsule.

However, the solid-rocket based Ariane 6, that is, most of the thrust is provided by two solid side-boosters without which it could not take-off, is also set to come into operation in 2020. It would be difficult then for Arianespace to undercut it's own rocket to provide a cheaper alternative that could also serve as a manned launcher. That's the problem with Europe's space launcher having a monopoly.

I don't see any way out. The only way such a fully liquid-fueled rocket could be ready by the 2022 - 2023 timeframe would be by also starting the design of the rest of the rocket besides the engines now.

Possibly one way it could happen would be for example if SpaceX becomes so successful at reusing its boosters that it greatly slashes launch prices and the ESA then is forced to accept the fact the current version of the Ariane 6 will be obsolete.

Le CNES et ArianeGroup s'allient pour étudier un lanceur réutilisable.
https://www.lesechos.fr/industrie-s...r-etudier-un-lanceur-reutilisable-2246691.php

If you open this link in Chrome you can get a Google translation.

Glad they are moving to a rocket, Themis, to field the Prometheus engines. The Prometheus is just too good to put away on a shelf. According to the article, test flights of a reusable booster are to take place in 2023.

BTW, if you gave this test vehicle a small upper stage such as the cryogenic upper stage currently on the Ariane 5 then you might even be able to get a fully orbital rocket with reusable booster capability.

If they make it highly weight optimized like they did the Ariane 5 core it might even be comparable to the Ariane 6 in payload.

Bob Clark
 
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