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European space missions could be launched using reusable ‘Susie’ spacecraft

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Rocket launch company Ariane Group plans to launch astronauts aboard Susie.

European rocket launcher has unveiled a new upper stage designed to carry out manned or unmanned missions on its Ariane Space rocket in Earth orbit or on the Moon.

The upper stage, called Suzy (Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration), will be onboard the upcoming Ariane 64 rocket when it unveils a fully reusable rocket in the next few years.

As the space community reaches out to private space stations and lunar missions, ArianeGroup said flexible, reusable, and modular spacecraft best meet the needs of multiple customers. (Arianespace is the start-up company of his ArianeGroup, a joint venture between Airbus and Safran.)

The manned version of Susie could carry up to five astronauts with an abort system designed to function at any point during the mission. Payload capacity is flexible enough to meet the needs of “critical missions in space” as NASA and its partners strive toward manned Artemis program missions to the Moon over the next decade.

“Susie is a fully reusable rocket stage project,” wrote ArianeGroup in its Sept. 16 publication. “It can go into space, perform different kinds of missions, whether automated or manned, and land on Earth.”

After the mission, Susie returns to Earth for a soft landing and is reused for future flights as the spacecraft is fully reusable. The various missions it is intended for include servicing satellites, building orbital facilities, handling space debris, or transporting critical items to astronauts on space missions.

“This is a project that builds on all the existing know-how of ArianeGroup and the European industry. This is consistent with ongoing or future technological developments in space transportation and reuse,” said Morena Bernardini, Head of Strategy and Innovation at ArianeGroup, in the same statement.

The company noted that Susie will be able to use multiple rockets. Among them is the Ariane 6, whose diameter will fit in the Ariane 6 rocket, as early as he will be able to fly at 2023 meters. Further down the line, Susie will be working to repurpose space as part of the New European Space Transportation Solutions (NESTS) initiative, which aims to build launchers around common building blocks to save costs and development. It fits the European Space Agency’s vision of a modular launcher that can.

Depending on the mission requirements, ArianeGroup said future missions will fly to a space node and then to their destination, rather than flying directly point-to-point. Susie was announced at the International Space Congress in Paris, which runs through Thursday (September 22nd).

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