Last week the French company Ariane Group jointly with the French space Agency CNES has announced the development of a new “launch pad” which will form the basis of reusable launch vehicles in the program ArianeWorks. Along with the announcement of Ariane Group has published on its website a video presentation of the new space launch system. Portal Ars Technica notes that the new booster is very suspiciously similar to the booster Falcon 9 from the American company SpaceX.
In a video released by the company showed the launcher demonstrator, dubbed Themis. The objective of this project is to develop multi-engine single-stage rocket with the capability of vertical takeoff and landing near the launch site. According to the source, the rocket will operate on the basis of the Prometheus reusable engines using as fuel a mixture of liquid oxygen and methane. It is noted that the cost of production of such an engine is only $ 1 million.
Edition Ars Technica surprised how launch platform, Themis, for the “demonstration of the revolutionary technology of rocketry”, very similar to the Falcon 9 from SpaceX. Even the rocket engines with a thrust of 100 tons each (plan to use three) turned out to be similar in performance with the Merlin 1D engines that are used in the U.S. launch vehicle. The only difference between them, the newspaper notes, is that Merlin 1D uses as fuel gasoline, not methane.
On the promotional video shows how the rocket first takes off and then does next to launch site landing, using four landing legs. A promotional video can be viewed on the official website of Ariane Group.
The news source notes that European manufacturers of missiles is not the first time the “borrow” ideas from SpaceX. During last year’s presentation, the journalists did not hesitate to ask to comment about this Chapter program of space launches French space Agency, Jean-Marc-Astorga. Then it was on the plans and Ariane CNES to begin development of a “flying stand” Callisto, which will be used to test new technologies. The idea of journalists recalled another project. The company SpaceX was used in 2012-2013 flying layout Grasshopper to demonstrate vertical landing technologies.
Asked by journalists Jean-Marc astorg directly said that Callisto is really a copy of the Grasshopper, adding that Chinese developers missiles are also building a similar prototype, so the pangs of conscience, his torment will not, if he admits that they are new in this plan invented nothing.
Funding of the development of demonstrators Callisto and Themis, of course, is due to the support of the governments of European countries.
At the moment Ariane Group is finalizing a new rocket Ariane 6, whose launch is planned for 2020. This booster will have several options, but officials behind the project development cost 4 billion euros saying that booster will be able to compete with its SpaceX Faclon 9 in commercial launches, suggesting a similar cost of the latter.