ESA: The days of ESA-financed, multibillion-dollar rocket development contracts are over

by Peter B. de Selding

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany — The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing a multi-year rocket-development program that gives industry much more leeway in designing vehicles -- and much more cost responsibility.

ESA will limit itself to co-financing new technologies; being a customer, even for new rockets; and making European infrastructure, including test facilities, available to all comers.

“The landscape is changing fundamentally,” said Daniel Neuenschwander, director of space transportation for the 22-nation ESA. “We have to increase our pace. It is evident that today we are losing . . .

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