European small launcher competition enters ‘Prove it’ phase: Technology and financial stamina are key – so is politics

by Peter B. de Selding

BRUSSELS — The technical and financial challenges faced by the more than half-dozen small launcher startups in Europe are well-known:

None has yet launched or proven an ability to reach space and safely deposit a customer payload. Infant launcher failure is a common occurrence.

With the possible exceptions of Isar Aerospace and MaiaSpace  — the former having raised more than 300 million euros ($325 million), the latter is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup — none can be sure of having enough cash to complete development . . .

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