SpaceX will launch four European Space Agency (ESA) satellites for the first time. These are navigation satellites of the Galileo navigation network. SpaceX is launching satellites because the European Space Agency’s Ariane 6 rocket is not yet complete.
The plan was actually for an Ariane 6 rocket to put the satellites into Earth orbit. But the construction of this missile is delayed. It is not expected to be ready for its first launch before next year. This means that ESA cannot launch its own material at the moment.
Elon Musk’s company wrote that agreements have been concluded with SpaceX The Wall Street Journal. EU member states and the European Commission still have to give their final approval.
The satellites are launched from US soil. Previous Galileo satellites were launched from Kazakhstan and French Guiana. Russian Soyuz rockets and later the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 system were first used for this purpose.
Europe has been in discussions with SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance for some time about launching Galileo satellites. The alternative was to use Soyuz rockets again, although that was no longer an option after Europe imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The last Ariane 5 rocket took to the air in July. The intention was for the successor to Ariane 6 to be ready, but its construction has been plagued by problems. Ultimately, launching the new missile should be less expensive than its predecessor. However, it does not have the advantages of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. It’s even cheaper and can land again after launch.
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