New low cost Vega E is to be designed while Space Rider unmanned mini-shuttle also gets funding

by | Dec 1, 2017 | ESA, Seradata News, Technology

While the new Vega C can launch 800kg more payload into orbit for about the same price as the current Vega rocket, it remains an expensive rocket at circa US$42 million per launch. As such, the European Space Agency has launched a design programme for a new version of Vega, the Vega E (Vega Evolution). This rocket will be a three stage launch vehicle using a liquid fuel upper stage replacing the Zefiro-9 third stage and the Ukrainian built  AVUM (Attitude and Vernier Upper Module) fourth stage of the Vega C. The new liquid fuel upper stage will use liquid methane and liquid oxygen as its propellants and will be capable of multiple burns.  It will launch payloads equivalent to Vega C’s current 2,300kg for a much lower price that of the current Vega or Vega C.

The European Space Agency is giving the Italian manufacturer Avio €53 million for design of the Vega E. The final go ahead for the Vega E’s development is expected to be given in 2019 with the programme to start in 2024.

Artist’s impression of Space Rider. Courtesy: ESA

In a similar concept to the US Air Force X-37, the ESA has also funded to the tune of €36.7 million, the development of an unmanned mini-shuttle called Space Rider which will ride on top of a launch vehicle to achieve orbit.  It will be able to operate in orbit via a solar array power system, and be able to make runway landings. The Avio/Thales Alenia Space team share this funding. The Space Rider is based on the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV) which flew a re-entry test in 2015.

.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Apple to bankroll Globalstar satellites

Globalstar, one of the original LEO constellation operators, will be used by Apple to allow iPhone users to send emergency Read more

Axiom Space to produce new NASA lunar space suits

NASA has selected Axiom Space to deliver a moonwalking-capable spacesuit for the planned Artemis III human landing mission. This will Read more

Second “suborbital” spaceplane test for China hints at reusable two-stage launch system or one for fractional orbital bombardment

Details are sketchy but during late August, China mounted a launch of its suborbital/fractional orbital spaceplane from the Jiuquan launch Read more

Firefly to help build Antares 330 stage after Russian engine supply halted

Northrop Grumman Corporation and launch vehicle manufacturer Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Read more

India’s quick response SSLV small launch vehicle fails on first mission

The maiden flight of India’s latest rocket, the SSLV, has gone wrong. After an apparently successful launch from the Satish Read more

Raytheon buys UK Space Situational Awareness specialist NORSS but looks to Star Wars lasers to counter drone menace on Earth

The US defence firm Raytheon which is moving away from what it was most famous for air launched missiles - Read more

The Great British race to reach orbit from UK (Updated)

The final flight in 1971 of Black Arrow, a British satellite carrier rocket developed in the 1960s, remains the first Read more

Astroscale gets funding to demo satellite removal

While the ELSa-D docking test mission is not going to plan in orbit due to thruster issues, its owner/developer Astroscale Read more

Categories

Archives