Discover Susie, the “reusable” rocket designed by ArianeGroup

This is a first for space Europe. ArianeGroup unveiled a new “fully reusable” rocket upper stage project on Sunday. It will be able to carry out automated cargo missions for the transport of freight and payloads (satellites) “or manned flights with a crew of up to five astronauts”.

Baptized Susie, the flexible vessel will be able to fly with an Ariane 6 rocketwhose maiden flight is scheduled for 2023 only with a heavy launcher of the next generation, detailed the manufacturer of Ariane launchers at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris.

“Innovative” technology

“Fully reusable”, Susie (Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration) will be an upper stage that will replace the launcher fairing to carry out missions in thespace and come back to land on Earthspecifies ArianeGroup in a press release.

This return will be “smooth, after a high-precision atmospheric re-entry” and a vertical landing. With an “innovative” technology, different from that of the rockets of the American SpaceX : the latter return to Earth just after launch, when Susie’s concept provides for a return once the space mission has been carried out, explained Morena Bernardini, director of strategy and innovation at ArianeGroup.

To compete with Elton Musk

It will have a large interior bay of 40 m3, and will be able to “bring back to Earth up to seven tonnes of cargo, which is unlike anything that exists today. The vehicle will be able to reach lunar orbit and will be able to receive a supply module for astronauts.

This project is a first for Europe in space, which currently does not master reusable technology and faces fierce competition from launchers from SpaceX, theElon Musk.

Behind the rest of the world

Europe also does not have a program to send its astronauts into space and depends on a barter system used so far with the Russians and the Americans. Facing the rush the moon and the appearance of private players in manned flight, the European space community is campaigning for it to acquire its own resources. An ambition supported by Elisabeth Bornewho spoke on this subject at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris

ArianeGroup will submit the Susie project to the ministerial meeting of the European Space Agency (ESA), whose 22 member states will meet next November to decide on the budget for the next three years.

Susie would complete Thémis, a reusable lower-stage technology demonstrator currently under development within the group.

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