The head of Arianespace asked European governments to provide his company with more support in order to balance what he called government support of American competitors “with no precedent.”
Airbus signed a contract with Arianespace on Dec. 7 to launch a four-satellite optical Earth observation constellation aboard a Vega C rocket in 2023.
A solid rocket booster designed for Europe's next-generation Ariane 6 and Vega C launch vehicles completed a third and final static fire test Oct 7.
Arianespace is poised to launch up to 22 missions this year, a number that would nearly double the company’s record.
Avio CEO Giulio Ranzo said during a Nov. 7 earnings call, said Vega is on track for a return to flight by March, though what payload will launch on the mission is still to be determined.
The Italian Space Agency on July 23 kick-started development of a communications satellite that Italy will share with other nations as part of the pan-European GovSatCom program.
Airbus and the French Space Agency CNES have agreed to cofinance a constellation of four Earth observation satellites while leaving the door open for Airbus to finance additional satellites with other partners.
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.
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.
European launch provider Arianespace is planning to conduct a record number of Vega launches this year, and, if OneWeb is ready, a return to launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Thales Alenia Space said Jan. 10 it received a contract from the European Space Agency worth approximately 150 million euros ($172.4 million) to build the Fluorescent Explorer satellite.
The Italian Ministry of Defense may use two satellites to replace a single existing satellite so that it can use the Italian-led Vega C or Vega E rocket, according to a defense official.
ESA is pushing European industry to continue innovating and finding efficiencies even after Vega C’s introduction in 2019 and Ariane 6’s debut in 2020.
European Space Agency member states have agreed to keep all production of P120 solid rocket boosters in Italy instead of opening a second production line in Germany.