Space: Another blow to Europe's Ariane 6 rocket, and rubs its hands with SpaceX

The European agency Eumetsat canceled the launch of its MTG-S1 satellite by an Ariane 6 rocket.
This is a new disappointment for the European launch platform, which is scheduled to make its inaugural flight on July 9.

This is a new blow for Arianespace and its Ariane 6 rocket, the operator of European weather satellites, which cancelled the launch of its MTG-S1 satellite on an Ariane 6 rocket for SpaceX, a disappointment for the European platform whose inaugural flight was scheduled for July 9 from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. As revealed on Thursday the worldEUMETSAT's executive committee asked the board representing the 30 member states to select SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, canceling the contract signed four years ago with Arianespace.

The meteorological satellite was scheduled to ascend to the third Ariane 6 flight scheduled for early 2025. The reasons that prompted EUMETSAT to change its course and choose the American rocket are not known. Contacted by Agence France-Presse, Eumetsat could not be reached immediately, while Arianespace, the company responsible for operating and marketing Ariane 6, did not comment. On LinkedInPhilippe Baptiste, CEO of the French space agency CNES, expressed his regret.A sudden change, because the trip was going to happen very soon” And “A very disappointing day for space in Europe

I look forward to understanding the reasons that might have prompted EUMETSAT to take such a decision, while all major European space states as well as the European Commission are calling for European satellites to be launched on European launch pads.“S,” he confirms.How far will we Europeans go in our naivety?“, puts the blame again on Philippe Baptiste, who calls on the European Commission to take action.”Necessary measures so that all European institutional satellites are launched on small and large European launch pads

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The first flight of Ariane 6 was planned for 2020, but was postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and development difficulties. Before this disappointment, the Ariane 6, which has a planned average of 9 launches per year, had 30 flights on its order book. The launch pad must give Europe independent access to space again since the last flight of the Ariane 5 rocket in July 2023 and the failure of the first commercial flight of the new Italian Vega-C rocket in 2022. But competition is stiff against the giant SpaceX, which has planned to launch 140 Falcon 9 rockets. For the year 2023.

Mathieu Delachillerie for AFP

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