Space: a reusable European mini-launcher signed ArianeGroup to compete with SpaceX
The French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, during a visit to the ArianeGroup construction site, in Vernon, December 6, 2021. AFP - ERIC PIERMONT
Text by: RFI Follow
The European aerospace sector wants to catch up with its American competitor.
The French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, was at an ArianeGroup production site in Normandy on Monday, December 6, and announced the development of a reusable mini-launcher.
The French state will support this investment to the tune of around 1 billion euros.
This reusable mini-launcher called Maïa is a great first for the Europeans of ArianeGroup.
A mini-rocket responsible for sending nanosatellites into space, the launcher does not usually return to earth: it disintegrates in the atmosphere.
But this time it's reusable.
So it can be used for new launches.
This technology is not new.
The SpaceX company has been
producing reusable launchers for ten years.
And it is precisely because of this competition that Bruno Le Maire makes this announcement: for him it is necessary to make up for the accumulated delay.
But in his speech, he took the example
of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launcher
... A launcher that the American company itself considers outdated.
Starship in the starting blocks
Elon Musk's group have already used a more powerful version of their launcher: the
In its boxes for 2022, SpaceX is also preparing the tests of Starship, a mega-rocket capable of sending even heavier satellites.
It is Starship which was chosen by NASA to become the moon lander used as part of its Artemis return to the moon program, says Agence France Presse.
The machine is also developed by SpaceX to transport loads in space and, ultimately, to go to Mars.
Thus, even with their mini launcher scheduled for 2026, Europeans will still have a long way to go before catching up.
Also to listen:
Is the space battle launched?
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