Arianespace and ESA: Developing Low-Cost and Green Engine Technology

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the launch services company Arianespace are developing an ultra-low-cost reusable rocket engine. Their Prometheus will not only cost a tenth of the previous favorite Ariane 5’s Cilcain 2 engine but also use liquid oxygen-methane propellants that are more environmentally friendly. The first demonstrators for the new engine could take place before the end of the year.


Arianespace is a leading global launch services company that serves international clients from its headquarters in France, the United States, Japan, and Singapore. Created in 1980, Arianespace has about 220 employees and an assigned mission of guaranteeing independent access to space for the whole of Europe.


The ESA is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space. The agency’s programs include human spaceflight, uncrewed operations to other planets and the moon, and science and telecommunications, among others.

Awaiting Prometheus with Ariane 6

With a cost of one-tenth of Ariane 5’s first stage, the reusable engine is on track for completion by the end of 2020, when we should expect to see a first ground test. Prometheus will leverage extensive 3D printing with the goal of reaching a cost of only €1 million ($1.17 million).



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Yisela Alvarez Trentini

Anthropologist & User Experience Designer. I write about science and technology. Robot whisperer. VR enthusiast. Gamer. @yisela_at