Status Report

France in Space #287

By SpaceRef Editor
March 17, 2005
Filed under , , ,


CNES and the Russian Space Agency Roskosmos have signed an agreement March
15, 2005 to cooperate on future launchers design, through a 5-year program
called OURAL. French contribution to this program is worth 200 million
euros. First, OURAL aims at studying different concepts –architecture and
structure- for post-Ariane5 launchers, using in particular the wide
technological expertise of Russia. Second, the program aims at preparing the
development of some elements of these future launchers, such as a new rocket
engine using liquid oxygen and methane, and a cryogenic-stage tank with
innovative material, which could further be integrated on reusable vehicles.
Third, CNES and Roskosmos plan to develop demonstrators to test new
technologies. The re-entry gliding vehicle Pre-X will be for example further
developed and a design of launcher first stage will allow testing avionics,
structures and propulsion systems. [Le Monde 03/16/2005, Le Figaro


The U.S.A. and France have agreed that the Istres Air Force near Marseille
will be a formal Transatlantic Abort Landing (TAL) site for space Shuttle
launches when the fleet returns to flight later this year. A TAL would be
required for an engine failure or any other emergency that calls for an
abort to keep the vehicle flying east. It could also be used in any other
case of emergency if the Shuttle cannot execute a Return-to-Launch-Site
abort procedure back to the Kennedy Space Centre. To prepare for possible
Shuttle landings, the Istres facility will be equipped with a new microwave
landing system and specialized lighting. [Air & Cosmos 03/14/2005]


2004 has been a key year for EADS Space, which has reached its objective of
returning into profitability, with a pre-tax profit of 10 million euros (13
million dollars). The company has also completed its internal restructuring,
been awarded several large contracts and significantly contributed to the
Ariane 5-ECA successful return to flight. Its Space backlog in September
2004 is worth 11.3 billion euros, including an order of 30 Ariane 5
launchers (totalling 3 billion euros), 6 Automated Transfer Vehicles, as
well as an initial contract with the French Defense Ministry for M51
strategic missiles. In 2004, 70 percent of EADS Space’s revenues were from
civil and commercial customers and 30 percent from defence agencies. EADS
Astrium, the satellite manufacturing arm of the company, accounted for 49
percent of sales, and EADS Space Transportation for 45 percent. The third
branch, EADS Space Services, specialized in the military telecommunications
and navigation fields, accounted for the 6 remaining percent of sales.
[Space News 03/14/2005]


In March 2005, representatives of over 20 European space industrialists
involved in the VEGA program met at ESA’s centre in Italy for progress
meeting. As the preliminary project stage is completed, the companies are
now moving forward to build and test the systems and the engines of the
future small-scale European launcher. The first firing test of VEGA’s solid
rocket engine, called Zefiro, will take place this year in Sardinia. At the
French Guiana spaceport, the preparation of the launch site from the
existing Ariane launch infrastructure ELA 1 is in progress. The VEGA program
remains on track for a first qualification flight by end 2007. Italy is the
first contributor by providing 65% of the costs, followed by France (15%).
[ESA 03/16/2005]


The CLS (Collect Localisation Satellites) company from Toulouse, subsidiary
of CNES and IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea),
proposes a three-product offer through the ARGOS and DORIS systems as well
as space oceanography. CLS revenues for 2004 are worth 31 million euros, a
7% increase as compared to 2003. With 60 satellites in orbit, relayed by 40
reception antennas worldwide, CLS provides several applications such as
platform localization, science and environment data collection, fishing
fleet management, maritime security or satellite orbit determination. Its
most famous service, ARGOS, is managed by a four-partner team including
NASA, NOAA, EUMETSAT and CNES. [La Dépêche du Midi 03/08/2005]

** 6: IN BRIEF

The deployment of Germany’s SARLupe military reconnaissance spacecraft,
initially scheduled in spring 2005, has been delayed for at least a year,
said prime contractor OHB System, due to a change in the technical
specifications by the German Defence Ministry. Alcatel Space, which is
supplying the electronics subsystem for the radar, has reminded that the
radar system tests fully met specifications and that the first production
unit was delivered on schedule at the end of 2004. [Aviation Week & Space
Technology 03/14/2005]

France in Space will not be published next week. The next issue will be
published March 30.

France In Space is a weekly synthesis of French space activities based on
French press. Its content does not reflect an official position of the
French Government or CNES. It is provided by the CNES office and the Office
of Science and Technology of the French Embassy in Washington D.C
Editors: Jean-Jacques Tortora, Clémence Le Fèvre

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About CNES

“CNES develops and leads national space programmes. The main thrust of its
action is to serve France’s ambition to sustain a strong space capability
and contribute to scientific discovery at the highest levels. CNES is
committed to fostering innovative space technologies that meet the current
and future needs of society. Most programmes are pursued in cooperation with
international partners. CNES also plays a central role in programmes
initiated by ESA, the European Space Agency, to which it is a major
contributor. It is thus a driving force behind ESA programmes and

SpaceRef staff editor.