March 2, 2024

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Arianespace CEO: Europe won’t have reusable rockets for another decade

Arianespace CEO Stefan Israel He says Europe We’ll have to wait until 2030 for a reusable rocket. Space.com reports: Arianespace is preparing its Ariane 6 rocket for a test flight after years of delays. Europe’s workhorse, Ariane 5, which has been in operation for nearly 30 years, recently launched the JUICE Jupiter mission and now has only one flight left before retirement. Ariane 6 will be expendable, though it went into development nearly a decade ago, when reusability was being developed and tested in the US, most famously by SpaceX.

“When the decisions were made on Ariane 6, we did so with the technologies that were available to quickly field a new rocket,” Israel said, according to ESOF. However, delays in Ariane 6 mean that Europe lacks its own options for getting into space. This issue was highlighted in a recent report from an independent advisory group to the European Space Agency. Israel has stated that, in his opinion, the Ariane 6 will fly for more than 10 years before Europe moves to a reusable successor in the 2030s.

Aside from Arianespace, Europe is currently sponsoring a number of private rocket companies, including Rocket Factory Augsburg, Isar Aerospace, PLD Space and Skyrora, with some of these rockets being reused. However, the missiles under development are lightweight, while the Ariane 6 and its potential successor are more capable, medium payload missiles.

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