Europe (rocket)

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The Europa 2 rocket ; Length 31.65 m, diameter 3.69 m

The Europa was a series of European launch vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s that were never used commercially. It was developed by the European Launcher Development Organization (ELDO). The test flights took place from a launch site in Woomera , Australia .

Europe models

Europe 1

The Europa 1 consisted of three steps with a total height of 31.68 m. Each of these stages was taken over by one of the three large participating states of ELDO. So built the UK the first stage Blue Streak , France , the second stage Coralie and Germany the third stage Astris . The Europa should carry a payload of around 1200 kg into low earth orbit.

Between June 1964 and November 1966 five test flights of the first stage took place in Woomera. The second stage was tested separately under the name Cora : in November and December 1966 from the French Center interarmées d'essais d'engins spéciaux in Algeria and in October 1967 from Biscarrosse in southern France. Two tests with a combined first and second stage failed in August and December 1967. With the complete rocket three attempts were made, but all failed: on November 29, 1968 and July 2, 1969 the third stage exploded, and on June 12, 1970 the payload fairing was not detached, so that the rocket did not reach Earth orbit .

Europe 2

Rolls-Royce RZ-12 engines of the lower stage, thrust 2 × 670 kN

In 1969, France and Italy suspended payments to the Europa 2 missile program. The Europa 2 corresponded largely to the Europa 1, but had four instead of three levels. The aim was to put a satellite weighing between 170 and 230 kg into geostationary orbit. Since the rocket only deployed the satellite on a geostationary transition orbit, this corresponded to a payload of 360 to 420 kg in the GTO orbit. The first and second stages corresponded to those of the Europa 1. The third stage was slightly modified and a fourth stage was added in order to reach the GTO orbit. The Europa 2 took off on November 5, 1971 from the Center Spatial Guyanais on its maiden flight, but it failed. This launch remained the only one of a Europe 2. The report of the commission of inquiry revealed serious deficiencies in management and quality assurance, which led to the discontinuation of work on the second rocket, which was scheduled to launch in 1972/1973. A model of the Europa 2 came to the German Museum in Munich. Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany followed suit on May 1, 1973, and stopped making payments to the Europe 2 program. The European Launcher Development Organization (ELDO) was then liquidated in 1973.

Europe 3

The Europa 3 was a French design that had been developed by France since 1966. After the end of the ELDO, this draft was submitted to the newly founded ESA , in which the ELDO was then incorporated. This draft of a Europa 3 became the basis for the later Ariane 1 of ESA.


The following table gives the technical data of the three European versions. Information on payloads cannot be compared directly with one another because they depend on orbit parameters and take-off location.

  Europe 1 Europe 2 Europe 3
height 31.8 m 31.7 m 40.0 m
Max. Diameter 3.5 m 3.7 m 3.80 m
Takeoff mass 105 t 112 t 191 t
Start thrust 1334 kN 1342 kN 2446 kN
First launch (complete rocket) 11/29/1968 November 5, 1971 -
Last start June 12, 1970 November 5, 1971 -
Launch site Woomera Kourou -
Number of launches (complete rocket) 3 1 0
of which successful 0 0 0

Individual evidence

  1. Bernd Leitenberger: The Europe rocket. Retrieved December 10, 2012 .


  • Niklas Reinke: History of the German space policy. Concepts, influencing factors and interdependencies: 1923–2002 , Munich 2004, ISBN 3-486-56842-6 .
  • France Durand-de Jongh: De la fusée Véronique au lanceur Ariane. Une histoire d'hommes 1945–1979. Stock, Paris 1998, ISBN 2-234-04659-9 .
  • Hervé Moulin: La France dans l'Espace 1959–1979 - Contribution à l'effort spatial européen. ESA Publications Division, Noordwijk 2006, ISBN 92-9092-549-3 ( online ; PDF; 2.3 MB).
  • F.-Herbert Wenz: The legendary EUROPA launcher. History and technology of the third stage built in Germany. 1961 - 1973 Stedinger Verlag, Lemwerder 2004, ISBN 3-927697-27-3 .
  • Bernd Leitenberger: European launch vehicles, Volume 1 From the Diamant to Ariane 4 - Europe's rocky road into orbit. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2009, ISBN 3-8370-9591-6 .

Web links

Commons : Europe  - collection of images, videos and audio files