France must remain a “great space country”, says Macron

The President of the Republic was on the ArianeGroup site in Vernon, where 30 million euros will be invested, in particular to develop the new rocket engine.

«France must continue to be a great space country», Declared Emmanuel Macron while visiting the ArianeGroup site in Vernon (Eure) on Tuesday, where 30 million euros will be invested, in particular to develop the new rocket engine.

«When there is more competition, we have to organize ourselves better, innovate more“Said the Head of State, alluding to”accelerationFrom American competition, notably with SpaceX, and Asian competition in the space industry.

The company of billionaire Elon Musk is already using reusable rockets when Europe postponed the first flight of its new Ariane 6 rocket until 2022 and is considering the technologies to be implemented for the next generation of launchers.

In this context, Emmanuel Macron recalled that the recovery plan, announced in September to deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, would devote 500 million euros to this industry for “accelerate projects” In progress “for the next two years».

«France believes in this adventure, in this sector of excellence for today and tomorrow»But it is necessary«go faster in this global competitionHe insisted alongside ministers Bruno Le Maire (Economy) and Sébastien Lecornu (Overseas), former mayor of Vernon and former president of the Eure departmental council. The space industry «had a hard time“And”each time, it took up the challenges by being more innovative and by accelerating“, according to him.

New generation Prometheus engine

He said that of the 30 million euros that will be invested on the Vernon site, 15 will be devoted to the new generation Prometheus engine project in order to “win a yearIn its focus.

With Prometheus, Arianegroup aims to develop a low-cost and potentially reusable rocket motor demonstrator for the European Space Agency (ESA). This engine, the cost of which must be ten times lower than the engine of an Ariane 6, in particular thanks to additive manufacturing (3D manufacturing), could eventually be used for future evolutions of the Ariane rocket.

The other 15 million euros will be devoted to the development of hydrogen propulsion, on which the Eure site is working.

The aerospace group, which already uses hydrogen for the propulsion of Ariane launchers, has just concluded a partnership with the energy company Engie to produce liquid hydrogen of renewable origin for maritime transport.

SEE ALSO – Images of the takeoff and crash of SpaceX’s prototype rocket, Starship SN8


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