While the war in Ukraine is making exchanges between Roscomos and the ESA even more complex, the European space agency could take the lead. The latter has indeed started preliminary discussions with SpaceX. The company of the whimsical billionaire Elon Musk is today the most successful private launcher on the market. Arguments that could make it a prestigious partner for the institution of the old continent.
According to the own admission of Josef Aschbacher, the Director General of ESA, nothing is written. At least if the “temporary” replacement of Soyuz rockets seems acquired, the choice of substitution has not been made. “I would say we are discussing two and a half options. The first is SpaceX, that’s clear. Another is perhaps Japan, ”explains the big boss of the ESA.
SpaceX, Japan or… India
There is no doubt that in the back of his mind, Josef Aschbacher hopes that the Ariane 6 development schedule will allow Europe to establish its independence in the world of heavy launchers. While NASA today outsources all of its missions to private companies, Ariane 6 could act as a UFO in an era that gives pride of place to companies.
With regard to the last two options of the ESA, it concerns two states which are little talked about, but which are making more and more noise on the international scene. The Land of the Rising Sun has a long history with the space world and the ESA is attentively awaiting “the maiden flight of its new generation rocket”.
India the high-risk solution for the ESA
But the big coast on which no one seems to want to bet a penny is India. The Asian state has a long tradition with the space world and the country’s space agency has made great progress in recent weeks. Just a few days ago we told you about the first launch of its brand new rocket (SSLV). If this mission ended in failure, no one seems to throw stones at Delhi, and India could strike a blow by succeeding in attracting such a prestigious client as the ESA.
For the European Space Agency, signing a contract with India is a very risky bet. If things go well, the old continent can forge privileged relations with an emerging player. Moreover, the SSLV is today one of the cheapest rockets on the market, an always important information for an agency like the ESA which lives off public funds and is therefore very careful with its accounts.