Large European countries are supporting a new generation of space launchers in the face of growing competition from private space companies and developing countries like India and China.
Ministers on October 25 from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland expressed full support in the development of the Ariane-6 and Vega-S missiles. They can be used for all missions of the European Space Agency (ESA).
This step is a response to the decision of the American government to award lucrative contracts for launches to private American space companies: SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Blue Origin. The first flight of medium and heavy Ariane-6 missiles is scheduled for mid-2020, and the smaller Vega-S is scheduled for 2019. The ministers also decided to strive for closer cooperation with the EU.