ESA agrees to change launcher-support policy for future Vega-C, Ariane 6 rockets, open door to micro-launchers

by Peter B. de Selding

DEGAGNAC, France — The European Space Agency (ESA) adopted a resolution that would effectuate a small revolution in its launch-vehicle policy by reducing annual market-compensating support payments to the Ariane industrial team for the heavy-lift Ariane 6 rocket and opening, if only slightly, the door to non-ESA-developed small launch startups.

The 22-nation ESA’s ruling council gave written approval to a resolution that had been proposed in mid-July and then slightly modified after the French, German and Italian governments — the biggest supporters of the Ariane . . .

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