Hand in hand

ArianeWorks, the innovation accelerator created by CNES and ArianeGroup, keeps up the momentum 07-17-2020 |  5 minutes

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Creativity, collaboration and quickness for making projects a reality

Established in February 2019 to accelerate the development of future European launchers and in particular the reusable stage demonstrator Themis, ArianeWorks is embarking on a new phase in the realization of its projects.

Less than a year after its creation, ArianeWorks provided persuasive proof of the viability of the Themis project at the European Space Agency (ESA) Ministerial Council in 2019, and has just been authorised to continue the work pending finalization of an initial development contract.

This support from ESA means that ArianeWorks is now in a position to escalate the development of Themis and is preparing for the first tests with the Prometheus new-generation engine demonstrator in 2021.

For the first tests, the team has set up at the ArianeGroup site in Vernon (northern France), where it will be working on various tank configurations and operations. The first prototypes have recently been installed in the historic “PF20” test area.

The Themis demonstrator will not only validate ultra-low-cost solutions, but will also contribute to energy transition in the launcher industry, making it highly eco-responsible through the use of biosourced fuel, recoverable infrastructure, clean transport etc.

In these 18 months, which have been full of innovation, the initiative launched by CNES and ArianeGroup has been extended to five manufacturing partners, all of whom have been contributing ideas, innovations and know-how for Themis (and ArianeWorks is getting ready to welcome more this summer):

A number of experiments over this period have helped to accelerate ideas for Themis, often by involving highly dynamic entities (SMEs or start-ups) from outside the space sector: wireless avionics, low-cost thermal protection, use of robots in operations, and more.

These ideas have now been incorporated into the larger-scale test programme which ArianeWorks is about to commence on behalf of ESA.