The European Space Agency has signed contract worth a total of $3.8 billion (€3.4bn) covering a fleet of rockets for satellite launchers over the next few years.
One batch covers the supply of the Italian-built Vega-C small satellite launchers, due to be available for launch in 2018. Italy’s ELV SpA, a joint-venture between Avio (70 per cent) and the Italian Space Agency (30 per cent) will build the new Vega rockets in a contract worth €395 million ($438m).
The heavyweight Ariane-6 rocket’s contract is worth €2.4 billion and the cash goes to the newly-established Airbus-Safran consortium. The first flight is scheduled for 2020.
A third contract, valued at €600 million, goes to French space agency CNES, and funds the development of a new launch pad in French Guiana and adapted integration facilities. These changes are expected to be ready by 2019.