2024 has already begun, so what should we expect from the aerospace world this year? Take a small glimpse into some of the projects that will be launched during this year.
Ariane 6 first flight
Ariane 6 is the new generation launch vehicle from the European Space Agency (ESA), developed by the ArianeGroup. The vehicle will be available in two versions: Ariane 62, with two strap-on boosters capable of taking up to 4.500 kg into geostationary orbit or 10.300 kg into low earth orbit; while the Ariane 64, with four strap-on boosters capable of taking up to 11.500 kg into geostationary orbit and 20.600 kg into low Earth orbit.
Ariane 6 is composed of three stages: the strap-on boosters, lower, and upper stage. The lower stage is propelled by solid rocket boosters capable of delivering 135 tons of thrust, while the upper stage carries a cryogenic liquid oxygen and hydrogen engine. After having successfully completed the hot-fire test in 2023, the launch vehicle is expected to perform its maiden flight in mid-2024 from Europe’s Spaceport in Korou (French Guiana).
NASA X-59 QueSST demonstrator
The project is developed by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with NASA. Its mission is to demonstrate how the X-59 can fly at supersonic speed without generating loud sonic booms. This aircraft is NOT a prototype of a commercial aircraft, as it has a scientific scope and will gather acoustic data both with sensors and questionaries from people in the area where the sonic boom is expected.
Currently, the aircraft is still in the early stages of the project, and its first flight is expected during 2024. The Study of acoustics will then begin in 2025 and will fly around gathering data for at least two years.
New aircraft variants from Airbus and Boeing (737 MAX 10 321XLR)
The largest commercial aircraft manufacturing companies are expected to fully certify their premium short haul airplanes before the end of 2024. Boeing with the 737 MAX 10 and Airbus with the A331XLR, both the largest narrow-body variants.
The Boeing 737-10 will have a capacity of up to 230 passengers powered by a Leap 1-B engine that should reduce CO2 emissions up to 15% and improve efficiency with their natural laminar flow winglets and wings. United and Ryanair are their biggest customers, expecting deliveries of the aircraft soon.
While the Airbus 321 XLR, with XLR standing for Xtra Long Range, is the largest aircraft from the A320 family, the short-haul narrow-body aircraft. With a range of +8.700 km and a capacity of up to 220 passengers and 30% less fuel burn (according to the manufacturer).
NASA’s mission to explore Jupiter is on its way, planned for launch in the last quarter of 2024. Europa Clipper’s mission has three main scientific objectives while exploring the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa: determine the thickness of the icy shell and how the ocean interacts with the surface, investigate Europa’s composition, and characterize the geology of Europa. The importance of the mission is given the strong evidence of liquid water beneath the icy crust that may sustain life.
NASA’s satellite will become the largest ever developed by the American Space Agency for a planetary mission, with thick walls to protect all the instruments from radiation. Among the instruments onboard, there are high-resolution cameras, spectrometers, radars, magnetometers, and thermal instruments.
The defense mission from the European Space Agency is planned to launch in October 2024. The objective of the satellite is to analyze the effects of the DART mission kinetic impactor test on the Didymos binary asteroid.
The satellite will be the first of its kind and studying the effects of asteroid deflection is important to understand the impact process and momentum post-impact for future missions and understand asteroid physics.
We hope you are excited as we are of seeing all this project in space or the air and see many more that will contribute to the growth of the aerospace sector.