European Spaceflight Update

By European Spaceflight Update

A weekly European spaceflight update with exclusive infographics, in-depth analysis, and a review of the week's biggest announcements.

A weekly European spaceflight update with exclusive infographics, in-depth analysis, and a review of the week's biggest announcements.

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Wired gets it wrong

Over the weekend, I had the displeasure of coming across a Wired article about Virgin Orbit launching from the UK towards the end of the year. The article represents everything that frustrates me about US-based journalists and pundits commenting on the Europe…


How not to handle safety concerns

Last week, French launch startup HyPrSpace announced a test firing of its hybrid Joker Mk2 rocket engine, which is equipped with an aerospike. By all accounts, the test was a huge success. The company confirmed successful ignition, steady state, thrust modula…


ArianeGroup boss throws shade

Over the weekend, Belgian business news outlet L'Echo published a revealing conversation with ArianeGroup CEO André-Hubert Roussel. It should be noted upfront that my version of the article has been Google translated from the original French. This obviously d…


Let’s talk about Isar Aerospace

The companyIsar Aerospace was founded in March 2018 by Daniel Metzler (current CEO), Markus Brandl, and Josef Peter Fleischmann. As of 2022, the company employs approximately 300 people and has offices, manufacturing sites, and test facilities in Germany, Fra…


Europe is going to the Moon aboard Artemis 1

As the excitement builds for the Artemis 1 launch, I thought I would take a look at Europe’s part in the mission and the Artemis programme as a whole. I planned to send this out just before the launch, which was supposed to happen today. However, during the b…


Let’s talk about RFA

Last week, I was lucky enough to get a look at the RFA ONE User Guide. The guide is currently only being made available to potential customers and offers a great deal of unannounced insight into both the vehicle and Rocket Factory Augsburg as a company. Altho…


What is Avio up to in Kourou?

A few weeks ago, CNES announced that it had preselected seven companies to launch from a new commercial launch facility being developed at its Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana. One of those companies was Avio. This was surprising as Avio already has launc…


ESA goes nuclear

With the announcement of ambitious projects like Voyage 2050 and Terrae Novae, the European Space Agency is moving to find solutions for a number of challenging problems. One such problem is propulsion.


ESA wants space-based solar power

ESA has released a new Request for Information for "Breakthrough Technologies for Space-based Solar Power."According to the request, the climate emergency requires urgent action, including the investigation of radical new technological solutions to provide cl…


ESA Wants a Mach 5 capable flying test bed

ESA published an Invitation To Tender (ITT) in November last year that calls for the development of a vehicle capable of Mach 5 flight in the Earth's atmosphere. The vehicle is required to be fully reusable, self-powered, and able to be reconfigurable to utal…


Is ESA looking for a European Starship?

ESA published an Invitation To Tenders (ITT) on Monday, 11 July, for its Preliminary Elements of European Reusable and Cost-Effective Heavy Lift Transportation (PROTEIN) initiative.


European launch facilities almost ready for liftoff

Six months into the year and several European launch facilities have made significant progress towards the construction of launch sites capable of supporting orbital launches. The below is not an exhaustive analysis. There are several others, including an int…


Maiden flights delayed, but progress continues

We’re six months through the year, and it’s time for a little recap of the progress made by the European launch market thus far. At the beginning of the year, a total of eight companies were planning to launch the maiden flight of a new vehicle in 2022. After…


The importance of suborbital flight in Europe

Over the last few months, I have tried to track down suborbital rocket builders throughout Europe. Some of these companies are developing suborbital vehicles on the road to orbital launch. However, some of the most interesting are smaller companies that are 1…


Spaceplanes - Europe prepares for a reusable future: Part 3

Over the last two weeks, I have looked at Europe’s efforts toward developing reusable launch capabilities. The first two issues in this series focused on institutional launch vehicles and commercial launch vehicles. This week, I looked at spaceplane projects …


Europe prepares for a reusable future: Part 2

Last week, I began an examination of Europe’s efforts toward developing a reusable launch vehicle. In that issue first issue, I spoke about institutional efforts toward realising that goal. This week, I am looking at the private entities that are pursuing the…


Europe prepares for a reusable future

As ArianeGroup gears up for the first hot fire test of a Prometheus engine, I thought it would be interesting to examine Europe’s efforts toward developing a reusable launch vehicle. It will be split over two weeks, with this first week covering institutional…


Vega E, news of the week, and an interesting startup

Proposals for the Vega Evolution or Vega E launch vehicle were first announced in 2012 following the maiden launch of Vega. One of the main drivers behind the project was a desire to eliminate the vehicle’s reliance on the Ukrainian-built RD-843 rocket engine…


Issue 9: UK launch startups have their say

On Monday, I wrote a piece commenting on how the UK government’s announcement that it would ease the regulatory burden on US rocket builders wanting to launch from the UK included some unnecessarily hyperbolic language. After publishing the piece, I was told …


Spain's new space agency and more 🚀

Despite being a founding member and one of the largest contributors to the European Space Agency (ESA), Spain currently does not have a national space agency. This is, however, about to change, and with the help of Leonardo López, a space lawyer and economist…