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Avio, Next Gen Eu contracts signed for new launchers with reduced environmental impact

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Avio was awarded the first two contracts as part of the space industry initiatives for the implementation of the “Next Gen EU”. In recent months, the Italian government has decided to invest around 340 million euros to enhance the technological capabilities of the Italian industry for access to space, entrusting the European Space Agency as Contracting Authority and supervising the Presidency of the Council, of the ‘Italian Space Agency and the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition. The goal is to leverage the skills developed in Italy since the early 2000s through the Vega, Vega C and Vega E programs for the development of next-generation propulsion technologies and launch system architectures. The contracts were signed at the headquarters of the Ministry of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition in Rome, in the presence of the Minister Vittorio Colao, the Director of the ESA launcher sector, Daniel Neuenschwander and the CEO of Avio, Giulio Ranzo. With these two contracts, two key development programs will begin, the first, funded with € 217.5 million upon completion, will be dedicated to the development by 2026 of an in-flight demonstrator of new technologies and projects for a light-load launcher at two stages with liquid propellant propulsion with low environmental impact liquid oxygen and methane engines. The second program, funded with 120 million euros upon completion, dedicated to the development of a new low environmental impact and high thrust liquid oxygen and methane engine for a first qualification test on the ground by 2026. For both development programs , Avio will be able to rely on the experience gained in the field of cryogenic liquid oxygen and methane propulsion which began several years ago in cooperation with the Italian Space Agency and which recently led to the first successful ground test in Europe of this type. Liquid oxygen and methane technologies, thanks to their cleaner combustion characteristics, are suitable for potential reuse and now allow extensive use of 3D printing manufacturing technologies for single material / single component. The initial orders, which cover the next months of work, have been signed for a total value of 11 million euros. The objective of the two projects is to prepare the ground for future space transport systems beyond Vega E, based on liquid propulsion with reduced environmental impact (potentially reusable) .The projects will be led by Avio as main contractor in the light of its extensive experience as a systems developer, and will be supported by an Italian industrial supply chain, as well as by Italian research centers and universities. Avio also intends to involve innovative start-ups and small / medium-sized enterprises to accelerate the development cycle. In parallel, an ambitious hiring plan was launched at the beginning of 2022 to strengthen Avio’s talent pool in the engineering and industrial fields with 2 highly qualified resources, with over 150 new hires to date out of a total workforce of approximately 1,100. employees. Further opportunities for competent and motivated young engineers will be available in the next 12 months. With these very important contracts, comments Avio’s CEO, Giulio Ranzo, “Avio will be able to expand its capabilities with new generation liquid propulsion launchers. well beyond Vega E, preparing the ground for greater competitiveness in the next decade “.” The in-flight demonstrator and a high thrust engine will be the key factors that, combined with a consolidated experience in systems and propulsion, will allow flexibility strengthened and cost-effective products and solutions. Italy will therefore have a full capacity to answer any question for space launches and space transport “. The ESA launcher sector director Daniel Neuenschwander commenting on Avio’s awarding of the first two contracts as part of the space industry initiatives for the implementation of the “Next Gen EU”. Vega, adds, “is a strategic asset that contributes to freedom of action for Europe in space. With the upcoming inaugural flight of the Vega C, the preparation of the Vega E and now with the signing of these contracts will offer the next generation market versatile, competitive and increasingly environmentally conscious launch services in the future. ESA, as a qualifying authority, supports a clear plan for the future of space transport services “.

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