Aerospacelab and ArianeGroup sign MoU on the development of avionics and water propulsion system
Aerospacelab’s founder and CEO, Benoit Deper, and ArianeGroup’s Vice President for Orbital Propulsion Systems, Stefan Haessler, and Acceleration To Future Center Deputy Director, Pierre-Guy Amand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the development of avionics and water propulsion systems.
“The Memorandum of Understanding marks another milestone in our relationship with ArianeGroup, and for the growth and development of Aerospacelab,” said Benoit Deper. “Water as fuel is a great option for satellites with advantages ranging from using the most environmentally responsible propellant to benefitting from valuable time savings when performing orbital maneuvers. We are excited to use this technology for low and medium earth orbit satellites.”
“For our water propulsion systems, we are extremely grateful to be able to work with Aerospacelab and leverage their expertise in adapting advanced space technologies to solutions that can be built in large series and offered at very competitive prices.” said Stefan Haessler, Vice President for Orbital Propulsion Systems. “We are also impressed by Aerospacelab’s ability to leverage their avionics portfolio to plan and execute our in-orbit demonstration in a timeframe that wouldn’t be possible ten years ago.”
Water propulsion systems represent one of the game changers expected to become mainstream for smaller satellites. One of the main advantages is that water is not volatile or toxic, making it a safer option for integration, launch-site operations, and in-orbit activities. As there is a lower mission risk and as water as a resource is a cheaper option compared with more traditional fuels, it will also open the opportunity to produce more affordable satellites.
The Memorandum confirms Aerospacelab’s and ArianeGroups’s willingness to cooperate and develop a flight demonstrator as well as to industrialize a performant and affordable solution that fits mass manufacturing required when building large constellations.
Image credits: April 2022, Eskenazi D.
Established in Belgium, Switzerland and France, Aerospacelab is a fast-growing company created in 2018, counting with more than 140 full time employees. With a unique vertically integrated approach, Aerospacelab is specialized in satellite platforms and geospatial intelligence. It designs, manufactures and operates a constellation of remote sensing satellites, empowering intelligence and insights by its proprietary satellite data.
ArianeGroup develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup is lead contractor for ESA’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launch vehicles, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs approximately 7,600 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its 2020 revenues amounted to 2.7 billion euros.