LANRELAS, France — The decision by European Space Agency (ESA) governments to spend another $267 million to finance Ariane 6 rocket delays raised anew a now-systematic question asked of ESA and to the European Commission: Why can’t Europe be like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Rocket Lab, and develop reusable rockets?

From the commission, the answers have been vague, focused on NewSpace small-launcher startups that might somehow develop cost-effective rockets. As a result, while the Commission wants to be seen as . . .

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