European launcher competition: Do French, Italian subsidies fit with the new ‘competitiveness’ focus?

by Peter B. de Selding

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany — European governments have agreed to cultivate a new generation of small launchers in the hope that at least a couple will grow to compete to be Europe’s next-generation heavy-lift vehicle by around 2035.

It’s a German idea that has now been universally accepted and was codified by the European Space Agency (ESA) into ESA’s European Launcher Challenge (ELC), which ESA nations agreed to — pending approval in late 2025 — at last November’s ministerial summit in Seville

But there . . .

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