ESA chooses SpaceX over Arianespace again
October 24, 2023
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX has signed a deal with the European Space Agency (ESA) over potential satellite launches, according to the WSJ. Normally – in fact almost always – ESA uses Arianespace rockets to launch its scientific and governmental missions.
However, there are no Arianespace launches available until 2025. The first test flight of Arianespace’s new Ariane 6 rocket is not scheduled until Q4 2024.
The WSJ says these specific discussions with SpaceX involve four of ESA’s Galileo navigation satellites.
The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, along with EU individual member states, must give final approval for the deal, the Journal added.
The launches, if confirmed, represent a major shift in strategy for ESA which has always followed a ‘Europe first’ policy and the Galileo SatNav system is deliberately conceived and designed to be wholly independent and not be the US Global Positioning System.
However, this past July a SpaceX rocket launched Europe’s Euclid space telescope and other similar science missions are already booked on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets over the next year.