Arianespace was chosen from among five operators, and Europe wants to compete with SpaceX

Arianespace was chosen from among five operators, and Europe wants to compete with SpaceX

Thus, a framework contract was signed with Arianespace, the company that markets the Ariane 6, Vega and Vega-C rockets, as well as four startups that have not yet carried out an orbital launch of their small rocket: the German companies Isar Aerospace and Rocket. Augsburg Factory (RFA), the British company Orbex, and the Spanish aerospace company PLD.

The inaugural launch of the Ariane 6 rocket is scheduled for between June 15 and July 31, while the last launch of the Vega rocket is scheduled during the summer, and Vega-C is scheduled to return to flight “before the end of the year” after being grounded due to a malfunction, according to ESA Director General Joseph Aschbacher.

“European preference”

The selection of these five suppliers within the framework of the “Flight Tickets Initiative” program aims to “encourage the creation of new European launch systems through open competition,” according to the European Space Agency. European Space Commissioner Thierry Breton said the EU and ESA would thus become “major clients” for these operators, “which will encourage emerging European players to mature and offer their services.”

The latter wants to establish a “clear European preference” within the Union for launch services and thus avoid using the American company SpaceX or even Indian launch pads.

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