In view of the fact that SpaceX offers rocket launches for 50 million euros, as against the European Space Agency’s (ESA) cost of 130 million euros for the launch of Ariane 5, 20 european science ministers are meeting to find a way into favorably competing with SpaceX, given the fact that the latter is starting the win the favors of international agencies for space missions – and this has a way of marginalizing Europe is care is not taken in due time.
Meeting at Luxembourg on Tuesday, 20 science ministers from various European countries in the region will be discussing a last-minute effort to fund the Ariane rocket mission as well as other things that pertain the future of the space project. They might also look into the possibility or necessity of Europe involving in future International Space Station (ISS) missions beyond 2020.
To this end, Europe must seek a way to gain a considerable portion of commercial space launches already controlled by SpaceX, which constitutes itself as a US owned rival organization. The science ministers will look into bringing down the cost of space launches from about 130 million expended for Ariane 5 to about 60-70 million euros to enable ESA compete better with SpaceX on the commercial market – while Europe will also consider the development of Ariane 6 satellite launch vehicle.
In order to actualize the Ariane 6 concept which will help Europe deal with international space competitions, the 20 science ministers representing their countries have been asked to donate $4.7 billion toward the project which might essentially include the upgrade of the Italian-built Vega rocket. Compared to NASA’s $17.6 billion budget, ESA’s total budget of $5.12 billion is seen as inadequate and the ministers donation would help upgrade it some bit.
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