Berlin and Paris Braced to Outperform Musk's SpaceX
© AP PhotoThis image provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows the European rocket Ariane 5 ECA lifting off in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying a payload of precious satellites, Saturday Feb.12, 2005. The launch of europe's most powerful rocket was successful, more than two years after its inaugural flight in disaster
© AP Photo
Germany has reportedly decided to return to developing French new-generation launcher Ariane 7, which looks to compete with the latest rockets from Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies.
The reported backing comes with the condition that the projects must be open to technology from European startups.
The cooperation is yet to be officially confirmed but is seemingly aimed at the creation of the Ariane 7 launcher in direct competition with Elon Musk's SpaceX and its Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
According to analyst data, Musk's Falcon 9 has accounted for 33% of all commercial space launches during 2022, while the French Ariane 5 rocket accounted only for 1%. The unveiling of Ariane 6 - designed to give Europe an upper hand in competition - has been delayed many times with its first blast-off now scheduled for the end of 2023.
Ariane rockets provide the EU with an independent launch capability for satellites and space missions. Nonetheless, Musk's Falcon 9 is winning market share in commercial space launches - especially communication satellite missions, largely because the launcher is reusable, granting SpaceX a cost advantage over rival companies with expendable launchers.
Nearly a week ago, NASA launched its Artemis 1 mission to send the Orion capsule on a journey to the Moon. Experts and media have speculated that the US government agency is now back into the Moon race, despite the SLS launch being delayed several times. However, US economists have questioned the program, since it is estimated to consume around $90 billion of taxpayer's money by the end of 2025.