EADS Astrium Wins German Deal
EADS Astrium won a contract from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to develop concepts for a new upper stage of Europe’s Vega rocket, EADS Astrium announced July 23.
Vega, a small launch vehicle being developed by the Italian Space Agency under contract to the European Space Agency, is scheduled for its first launch in 2009. The current upper stage for the rocket, designed to carry payloads weighing from 300 kilograms to 2,000 kilograms, will have a Russian/Ukrainian propulsion system.
The Vega New Upper Stage, or Venus, program is designed to lessen Europe’s dependency on Russian launch services, according to Claus Lippert, head of space transportation at the DLR. “Germany supports independent European access to space. This independent access is becoming increasingly important with respect to small launch vehicles, given the declining availability and rising launch prices for converted Russian ex-military launchers,” he said in a statement.
Germany has not yet participated in the Vega program, but the project “could lead to us developing and building the upper stages of every future European launcher,” Günter Stamerjohanns, Astrium’s director of launcher systems, said in a statement. “We will be using our extensive expertise built up on Ariane as we progress the study, which should establish our reputation as the specialist for upper stages in Germany and across Europe.”
The 18-month contract is valued at 500,000 euros ($692,000).