The ARES project is a direct ARD follow-on. The aim is to to gain expertise concerning automatic reentry and landing of a gliding spacecraft which is able to land horizontally. It is designed around a two-fold mission (high and low velocity), and twin vehicles (a single flight hypersonic glider, and a multi-mission glider for landings), which will use as many common elements as possible. 


The objectives of the ARES program are more ambitious than were those of the ARD. It will utilize the lessons learnt from the ARD. It will have many similarities to the ARD with respect to its functional subsystems. 

The technological advances will focalize on thermal protections, the aerodynamic shape, and flight control techniques, increasing hypersonic aerodynamic efficiency and maneuverability during reentry (lateral cross range reaching 1500 km).


Vehicle architecture (volume, shape, center of gravity) respecting the major system common parameters which will be required for the next generation of launch vehicles. Integration of the first advanced technologies developed on the ground (structures, thermal protections). 

Double delta wing Mass: About 2 metric tons 

Length: About 7 meters 

Fuselage diameter: About 1 meter 

Wing span: About 3 meters 

Load factor at reentry: About 1.5 g Use of functional chains derived from ARD

Two Vehicles to be built: 

A vehicle for atmospheric reentry to be recovered under a parachute, and a second vehicle for subsonic tests and landing.

Vehicle 1: 

In the low velocity configuration, ARES is dropped at high altitude from a balloon or an aircraft. It makes a supersonic, transonic or subsonic flight followed by an approach to a landing strip and by a landing. Several flights are envisaged to progressively enlarge the domain of exploration.

Vehicle 2:

In the high velocity configuration, ARES is injected into orbit by a medium class launcher like Soyuz, then diorbited and recovered under a parachute at sea near Bordeaux in the vicinity of the Centre d'Essais des Landes (CEL : Landes Test Range), after having simulated a landing approach.


Reentry vehicle to be a passenger of a medium class (Soyuz type) launcher. Subsonic vehicle to be dropped from a balloon or an aircraft.


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Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014