It is no secret that SpaceX and its recoverable Falcon 9 rocket have European rivals scrambling to maintain their lead in the commercial satellite launch market. To that end, European governments are investing more than €3 billion ($3.3 billion) to develop a next-generation satellite launcher, the Ariane 6, and are even eying a new low-cost engine to power a follow-on. Not surprisingly, the design of that engine—a liquid oxygen/methane powerplant dubbed ...

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