Prometheus (rocket engine)

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The Prometheus rocket engine is a European Space Agency development effort to create a reusable methane-fueled rocket engine potentially for the Ariane 6 or its successor rocket.[1]

The engine is aimed to be reusable with substantially lower costs than traditional engines manufactured in Europe. The cost goal is to manufacture the Prometheus engine at one-tenth the cost of the Ariane 5's first-stage engine.[2]

This engine is to cost no more than 1 million euros.

  • Some parts will be made by 3d printing.
  • It will have a thrust of 100 tons.
  • Combustion chamber pressure will be approximately 110 bar (11,000 kPa).
  • Specific impulse will be 360 seconds.
  • The engine is made to be reusable 3 to 5 times.


The European Space Agency began funding the Prometheus development in June 2017 with €85 million provided through an ESA capital mechanism called the Future Launchers Preparatory Program.[1]

Patrick Bonguet, who leads the Ariane 6 launch vehicle program at ArianeSpace, indicated in June 2017 that it is possible the Prometheus engine could find a use on a future version of the expendable Ariane 6 launcher. In this scenario, a "streamlined version of Vulcain rocket engine called Vulcain 2.1 would have the same performance at Vulcain 2. The expendable Ariane 6 is expected to make an initial launch in 2020.[2]


  1. ^ a b Henry, Caleb (5 October 2017). "France's Prometheus reusable engine becomes ESA project, gets funding boost". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b Henry, Caleb (8 January 2018). "France, Germany studying reusability with a subscale flyback booster". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 January 2018.