The European Commission has “pre-booked” four launches using Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 rocket.
The European Union will provide 200 million euros ($222 million) to support Europe’s space industry, in the form of a loan to help fund development of the Ariane 6 and investment in space startups.
Arianespace is poised to launch up to 22 missions this year, a number that would nearly double the company’s record.
Europe’s Ariane 6 rocket is a year away from its maiden flight, but prime contractor ArianeGroup is already preparing upgrades its says can be introduced in the launcher’s first three years of service.
The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference began this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The satellite industry and the cellular industry are both hoping to gain new spectrum
Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said the Ariane 6 rideshare mission will be able to deliver 8,500 kilograms into a lunar transfer orbit.
The European Space Agency will ask its 22 member states to fund an additional two to eight Prometheus reusable engines so that the agency can further its development.
Orders for geostationary satellites are beginning to rebound in a market is far more varied than in the past.
Two of the largest commercial launch providers separately announced plans Aug. 5 to provide dedicated launches of small satellites to sun synchronous and geostationary orbits.
The European Space Agency gave contracts to ArianeGroup and MT Aerospace on May 14 to develop a prototype upper stage that could lead to an advanced carbon-composite upgrade for the Ariane 6 rocket.
Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, the Colleferro, Italy, company that builds the Vega and future Vega C rocket, said the ESA council session included missions for both Avio-built rockets during the transition years to Vega C.
The European Space Agency’s 22 member states agreed April 17 to a workaround to get Ariane 6 production in full swing despite a dearth of public sector launch contracts.
The Germany space agency DLR is beginning a study this month on a reusable launcher concept that would use a winged first-stage booster captured on descent by an aircraft and towed back to land.
First Ariane 6 to carry 30 OneWeb satellites • Viasat seeking to raise $500 million • Hispasat trials Wi-Fi hotspots in Colombia
Arianespace’s first Ariane 6 mission will carry 30 OneWeb satellites to low Earth orbit. The launch, slated for the second half of 2020, will use the “62” version of the rocket, which has two side boosters.
With the maiden flight of the Ariane 6 now 18 months away (in July 2020), Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said the company had anticipated signing a manufacturing contract with ArianeGroup in the second part of last year to begin production beyond the first rocket.
Amid difficulties for the European launch industry, and with Brexit looming on the horizon, European Space Agency executives face a challenging year ahead.