Stop flights Soyuz after entering the war Russia and the postponement of the first launch ofAriadne 6 had rather unfortunate consequences for the European space industry, which is no longer able to put satellites into orbit. Thus, we learn that the scientific satellite Euclid, whose main contractor is none other than Thales Alenia Space Italy, will finally board in 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Initially, the satellite was to be placed into orbit by a Soyuz rocket and then by the Ariane 6 launch vehicle. Even more disturbing, it was the ESA that chose to entrust the launch to Elon Musk’s space company: “This is a temporary measure that we are taking due to the interruption of the Soyuz launches and while we await the ascent of Ariane 6” so declared Joseph Aschbacherthe director general of ESA.
Beyond Euclid, the European Probe Hera, which will study the asteroid recently deflected by DART, will also take off aboard a SpaceX rocket. However, the launch is not planned until November 2024, but Ariane 6 is so late that we already know that the big launcher will not be ready by that date. The only small consolation, the Italian satellite EarthCARE ((Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer), intended for the observation of the Earth’s atmosphere, will be launched on April 24 next by the European launch vehicle Vega C from the Guyana Space Center (CSG).
As for the next satellites in the Galileo constellation, they are currently awaiting the green light for Ariane 6. Space Europe is therefore lagging behind its competitor SpaceX… at least in the commercial satellite launch market. All you have to do is cross your fingers that Ariane 6 is as reliable as Ariane 5.