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The purpose is to demonstrate that carbon fibre can be used instead of metallic pieces for cryogenic tanks, saving weight and improving competitiveness.
ArianeGroup has received a 50-million-euro agreement from the European Space Agency (ESA) to continue the development of PHOEBUS, a super-light carbon composite upper stage demonstrator. This work will enable development of the next Ariane6 upper stage, by raising the maturity level of cryogenic composite technologies.
PHOEBUS (Prototype for a Highly OptimizEd Black Upper Stage) is a key programme on the path to a further optimized upper stage called ICARUS (Innovative Carbon ARiane Upper Stage). PHOEBUS is built of carbon composites rather than metal, leading to lower cost and lower weight. It will increase payload capacity and thus contribute to a more sustainable use of resources.