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Airbus Defence and Space and Air Liquide create EuroCryospace

New venture will help reduce the costs of the Ariane launcher

Airbus Defence and Space and Air Liquide have announced the creation of a European strategic partnership, EuroCryospace. It is an extension of Cryospace, which was set up 25 years ago to develop and manufacture Ariane cryogenic fuel tanks. EuroCryospace will focus on the development and manufacture of cryogenic fuel tanks, in particular the cryogenic fuel tank for the upper stage of the Ariane 5 ME.

The Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (ME) programme, a major programme of the European Space Agency, sets out to respond to the demands of the market by upgrading the Ariane 5 launcher, taking its capacity beyond that of the current Ariane 5 ECA and Ariane 5 ES.

Airbus Defence and Space is the industrial prime contractor for the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The company coordinates the activities of around 60 companies across Europe, to deliver a fully integrated and tested launcher. Airbus Defence and Space is also ESA’s single point of contact and prime contractor for future Ariane 5 developments.

With the creation of EuroCryospace, Airbus Defence and Space will continue with its on-going research into optimising industrial construction processes in Europe. In pooling the expertise of both companies, this new venture will help reduce the costs of the Ariane launcher.

The new cryogenic Ariane 5 ME upper stage, fuelled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, will be capable of a much more versatile mission profile than the current versions of Ariane 5. It boasts enhanced capacity (12 rather than 10 metric tons of payload), and because of its re-ignition capability, it will be more able to place multiple satellites into orbit or send probes to other planets. By overcoming some major challenges, such as fuel management and the considerable mechanical and thermal demands on the fuel tank, the new upper stage enables the European Ariane launcher to offer the full spectrum of services from satellite launches to special missions.

Press release

Ariane 5