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HomeSpaceXThe European Space Agency chooses the American SpaceX for two missions

The European Space Agency chooses the American SpaceX for two missions

Written October 20, 2022 4:49 p.mUpdated October 20, 2022 at 16.55

Europe is finally turning to Space X to launch its next space missions. Deprived of the Russian Soyuz rockets and faced with the delay in the Ariane 6 tests, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch two scientific missions with the Falcon 9 rocket of the American company, its director general announced.

The European probes Euclid and Hera will thus both be launched by the Falcon 9 designed by the company Elon Musk, Josef Aschbacher indicated during a press briefing at the end of an ESA council. The first, originally planned to be launched on a Soyuz rocket from Kourou, will study the expansion of the universe after its launch in 2023. Meanwhile, Hera is due to take off in late 2024 towards the asteroid that was recently deflected by NASA during the Dart mission.

Temporary measure

“This is a temporary measure that we are taking due to the interruption of the Soyuz launches and while we wait for the ascent of Ariane 6”, whose maiden flight was delayed in the last quarter of 2023, said the director general of ESA. .

In February, the Russian invasion of Ukraine cut off all European cooperation with Russia and deprived the European spaceport Kourou in French Guiana of Soyuz launches. The Russian rocket had other European flights on order, in addition to ESA’s. Among them the launch of four satellites from the Galileo navigation constellation and a launch of the military observation satellite CSO-3 intended for the French army. In September, ESA pledged to do everything possible to switch to Ariane 6 as much as possible.

The program for the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle intended to succeed the Ariane 5 and carry out the missions previously carried out by the Russian Soyuz rocket had been launched in 2014. Originally planned for 2020, then 2022 due to the Covid-19 the pandemic and development difficulties, the first flight of Ariane 6 has been postponed again to the last quarter of 2023.

With AFP

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