No simple maneuver: ESA developing rules for integrating small-launcher startups into its program

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — Whatever they may say now, European small launch-vehicle startups sooner or later will pencil in the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA) as a part of their business plans.

It may be a small ESA contract that, by virtue of ESA’s reputation, unlocks private-sector funding. This has already happened.

Longer term, small launchers will depend on ESA as a launch-service customer.

This is not as simple as it sounds. ESA has a mandate to assure Europe’s continued . . .

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