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FLTP landing
FLTP landing - FLTP orbiter lands

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Family: Winged. Country: Europe. Status: Design 1999. Other Designations: Future Launcher Technology Program. Manufacturer's Designation: Ariane 6.

The FLTP (Future Launcher Technology Program) was an ESA (European Space Agency) program, with responsibility assigned to CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), the same center that developed Diamant and Ariane. The objective of FLTP was to identify and develop technologies necessary for the successor to Ariane 5. The planned configuration was a two-stage fully recoverable winged launch vehicle. The winged booster would deliver the orbiter to a given altitude, the two separate, and the booster flies back to its launch base. The second stage orbiter continues to orbit, delivers its payload and then returns to the original launch site on Earth. Launch and landing were to be from the CSG (Centre Spatial Guyanais) at Kourou. The first flight was planned for 2020. The spacecraft was designated to be unmanned. But its configuration could include human cargo at a later point.

The FLTP program was launched at the interministerial conference of ESA in May 1999, with funding of $ 48 million for 1999 to 2001. This was to be followed by an 18 month period during which a technology demonstration program would be defined for approval at the ESA interministerial council in mid-2001. This demonstration program would run from 2002 to 2007, at which time a decision on Ariane 5's successor could be made. Two flying demonstrators were envisioned for the technology phase:

FLTP LaunchFLTP Launch - FLTP Reusable Launch Vehicle Launch

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FLTP SeparationFLTP Separation - Separation of Booster and Orbiter stages of European FLTP

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Development of the final commercial reusable launch vehicle (RLV) could cost between 7 to 16 billion dollars, up to twice that of Ariane 5. CNES calculations indicated that an RLV using Ariane 5 propulsion and materials technology would be no cheaper than the Ariane 5 itself. Therefore the need for the FLTP was clear to demonstrate new technology and provide the basis for a decision in 1997.

Thanks to Nicolas Pillet for providing images and information for this entry.

FLTP orbiterFLTP orbiter - FLTP orbiter releases payload

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