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Making the case for Ariane 6

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:59 am
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by Taylor Dinerman; If the world market in wheat were as intensely political as the world market in orbital launch services, a loaf of bread would probably cost more than twenty dollars. One indication of just how true this is can be found in Jean Yves Le Gall’s article in the November 14, 2005 edition of Le Figaro of Paris. In it, the CEO of Arianespace gives his readers some thoughts on the Future of Europe’s launch vehicles and of the EU’s space policy. He asks rhetorically, “…without European launchers who will launch our Earth observation satellites, our military communication satellites, our Galileo satellite navigation system.” Who indeed? The first element of Galileo is scheduled to ride into orbit next month on a Russian Soyuz.

For reasons of national prestige and employment policy, France considers having independent European access to space as in their national interest. They constantly make the case to other European governments that keeping the Ariane launcher and its supporting industry a “going concern” is in the interests of “Europe”. Some European nations chose to believe this and invested in the launchers, while others chose to refrain. In any case, Europeans have recently been launching more and more payloads on Russian launchers. In an era of tight budgets it is more and more difficult to justify flying certain types of payloads, such as Venus Express, launched on a Soyuz on November 9th, on the European launcher. Read more at The Space Review.

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