Encyclopedia Astronautica
Europa



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Europa
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Europa Engine
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Europa Third Stage
European orbital launch vehicle. Europe's first space launcher. The first stage was a British Blue Streak IRBM, the second stage the French Coralie, and the third stage the German Astris. All orbital launch attempts failed due to unreliability of the third stage. The project was cancelled after withdrawal of British support and replaced by the Ariane.

The first pan-European attempt to develop its own launch vehicle capability was done under the auspices of ELDO - the European Launcher Development Organisation. The already-developed but-cancelled British MRBM, the Blue Streak, would be the first stage. France would develop the second stage, Germany the third stage, Italy the nose fairing, and Holland and Belgium tracking systems. Non-European Australia was allowed to be a member in exchange for use of the Blue Streak launch facilities at Woomera.

The plan was for the Europa launcher to be tested in three phases:

  • Phase 1 would consist of three flights of the Blue Streak only. These would test the Blue Streak modifications and some guidance/tracking/telemetry systems. These suborbital tests would be launched northwest to an impact zone near Talgarno in Western Australia. These initial tests were successful.
  • Phase 2 would consist of three suborbital flights of the three-stage vehicle. These would begin with only the Blue Streak being active, with the other stages being dummies to test the aerodynamic configuration. Then an active second stage would be added, then an active third stage. These would be launched northerly to an impact area in the Simpson Desert in the Northern Territory.
  • Phase 3 involved four northerly launches into orbit. These were to bring the vehicle to operational status by 1970.

In the event, after the three Blue Streak-only tests, the rest of the project was a disaster. While the Blue Streak remained reliable, the second or third stage failed on every subsequent test. A fourth Phase 2 launch was made in order to compensate for the failures. The final attempt, using a four-stage Europa-II configuration, brought the curtain down on the program.

The British government had lost interest in the project, and the unaugmented Blue Streak offered limited possibilities for vehicle growth. With British interest waning, the launch site had already been moved to French Guiana. After some death throes, the British virtually abandoned spaceflight work, and ELDO was folded. The French led a new pan-European project to develop the very successful Ariane commercial launch vehicle.

LEO Payload: 200 kg (440 lb). Payload: 200 kg (440 lb) to a GEO. Failures: 8. Success Rate: 27.27%. First Fail Date: 1966-11-27. Last Fail Date: 1971-11-05. Launch data is: complete in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 17.000 million.

Stage Data - Europa

  • Stage 1. 1 x Europa-1. Gross Mass: 89,406 kg (197,106 lb). Empty Mass: 6,997 kg (15,425 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,672.671 kN (376,031 lbf). Isp: 282 sec. Burn time: 156 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.80 m (12.40 ft). Length: 18.75 m (61.51 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 2. Engine: RZ.2. Other designations: Blue Streak, ELDO-1. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Europa-2. Gross Mass: 11,894 kg (26,221 lb). Empty Mass: 2,099 kg (4,627 lb). Thrust (vac): 274.000 kN (61,597 lbf). Isp: 277 sec. Burn time: 96 sec. Isp(sl): 240 sec. Diameter: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Span: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Length: 5.70 m (18.70 ft). Propellants: N2O4/UDMH. No Engines: 4. Engine: Vexin A. Other designations: Coralie. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Europa-3. Gross Mass: 3,370 kg (7,420 lb). Empty Mass: 610 kg (1,340 lb). Thrust (vac): 23.330 kN (5,245 lbf). Isp: 310 sec. Burn time: 330 sec. Isp(sl): 260 sec. Diameter: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Span: 2.00 m (6.50 ft). Length: 3.36 m (11.02 ft). Propellants: N2O4/Aerozine-50. No Engines: 1. Engine: Astris. Other designations: Astris. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: ELDO A.
Status: Retired 1971.
Gross mass: 104,670 kg (230,750 lb).
Payload: 200 kg (440 lb).
Height: 33.00 m (108.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,500.00 kN (337,200 lbf).
First Launch: 1966.05.23.
Last Launch: 1970.06.12.
Number: 7 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • STV European technology satellite. 3 launches, 1968.11.29 (STV 1) to 1970.06.12 (STV 3). Satellite Test Vehicle. More...
  • STV 4 French technology satellite. One launch, 1971.11.05. More...

Associated Engines
  • Astris German N2O4/Aerozine-50 rocket engine. 23.3 kN. Isp=310s. Used on Europa launch vehicle. First flight 1964. More...
  • RZ.2 Rolls Royce Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 836.3 kN. Isp=282s. Used on Europa launch vehicle. First flight 1964. More...
  • Vexin A SEP N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 68.6 kN. Isp=277s. Used on Europa launch vehicle. First flight 1964. More...

See also
  • Europa Europe's first space launcher. The first stage was a British Blue Streak IRBM, the second stage the French Coralie, and the third stage the German Astris. All orbital launch attempts failed due to unreliability of the third stage. The project was cancelled after withdrawal of British support and replaced by the Ariane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • ELDO European agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. European Launcher Development Organisation, Europe. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Emme, Eugene M, Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961 Report of NASA to the Committee on Science and Astronautics US House of Representatives 87th Cong 2d Sess, NASA, 1962. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Gatland, Kenneth, Missiles and Rockets, Macmillan, New York, 1975.
  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Serra, Jean-Jacques, Rockets in Europe, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Woomera After World War II British government recognized the need for a large range to test the incredible array of long-range missile systems then planned. After considering sites in Canada, it was decided that Australia would best meet the projected needs. The Long Range Weapons Establishment was created on 1 April 1947 as a joint British/Australian enterprise. 23 days later the name Woomera (an aboriginal word of axtlaxtl, or spear thrower) was selected for the new town to be built as its administrative center. Woomera town peaked at a population of 6,000 in the 1960's. Thereafter the progressive cancellation of British missile and space projects put Woomera went into sustained decline. However it played a key role in the history of rocketry, including orbital launches or launch attempts by Black Arrow, Sparta, and Europa boosters. More...

Associated Stages
  • Astris N2O4/Aerozine-50 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,370/610 kg. Thrust 23.33 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 310 seconds. More...
  • Europa-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 89,406/6,997 kg. Thrust 1,672.67 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...
  • Europa-2 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 11,894/2,099 kg. Thrust 274.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 277 seconds. More...

Europa Chronology


1961 January 30 - . LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa.
  • Europa conference. - . Nation: Europe. Summary: Conference of 12 European nations held at Strasbourg to discuss a British and French proposal for a European satellite launcher development program..

1961 November 3 - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa.
  • Woomera selected for Europa launches. - . Nation: Europe. Summary: Nine-nation Western European Conference in London announced decision to launch a satellite in mid-1965, using a British Blue Streak first stage, a French Veronique second stage, and a West German third stage, from the Woomera range in Australia..

1966 May 23 - . 23:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: ELDO A F-4.
  • Active first stage with dummy upper stages and satellite. and satellite. Flight terminated after 136 seconds. - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Apogee: 86 km (53 mi).

1966 November 14 - . 20:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: ELDO A F-5.
  • Active first stage with dummy upper stages and satellite. Flight successful. - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Apogee: 120 km (70 mi).

1967 August 4 - . 03:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: Europa I F-6/1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Active first and second stages with dummy third stage and satellite. - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Apogee: 180 km (110 mi).

1967 December 4 - . 21:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: Europa I F-6/2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Active first and second stages with dummy third stage and satellite. - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1968 November 29 - . 23:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: Europa I F-7. FAILURE: Third stage exploded.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • STV 1 / Europa F-7 - . Mass: 249 kg (548 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STV. Decay Date: 1968-11-30 . COSPAR: F681129A. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi). Summary: First attempt by ELDO to launch a satellite to orbit. Satellite Test Vehicle payload..

1969 July 2 - . 22:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: Europa I F-8. FAILURE: Third stage failed.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Europa F-8 / STV 2 - . Payload: STV 2. Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STV. COSPAR: F690702A. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1970 June 12 - . 01:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA6A. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa. LV Configuration: Europa I F-9. FAILURE: Payload fairing failed to separate.. Failed Stage: S.
  • Europa F-9 / STV 3 - . Nation: Europe. Agency: ELDO. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STV. Decay Date: 1970-06-12 . COSPAR: F700612A. Apogee: 2,000 km (1,200 mi).

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