PARIS — It took about 30 years, and the determination of the Italian government to provide Europe its own reusable space plane, to end up with the contract signed on Dec. 9, which calls for the first launch of the automated Space Rider vehicle in 2023.
The 22-nation European Space Agency contracted with co-leaders Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, and Italy’s Avio SpA, to develop Space Rider, a 9.7-meter-long winged capsule designed to spend up to two months in low . . .
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