ESA Council agrees resolution on Ariane 6 and Vega-C

(05 Sep 2021) ESA Member States have agreed upon the boundary conditions for Europe's upcoming exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega-C and request ESA to propose a roadmap for new and innovative space transportation solutions for the next decade and a framework for associated short cycle demonstrations.

The Resolution agreed upon by ESA Member States mid-August sets the conditions for the first three years of stabilised exploitation of Europe's new launch vehicles, Ariane 6 and Vega-C at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

The revised stabilised exploitation model is based on a European institutional launch service demand of four Ariane 6 vehicles (three Ariane 62 with two boosters and one Ariane 64 with four boosters, or two positions on a dual payload launch on Ariane 64) and two Vega-C per year on average. Price conditions for the associated standard launch service have also been agreed upon.

Member States have also established a basis for maintaining strategic industrial capabilities through options to serve either additional institutional launches or a higher commercial demand. Corresponding financial decisions by Member States are planned to be taken at the occasion of the Council Meeting at Ministerial Level at the end of 2022. European institutional customers of launch services will also need to commit to launch on ESA-developed launchers.

In addition, the ESA Council also requested the ESA Director General to agree with the European Union on a European flight ticket initiative to regularly demonstrate and validate in orbit missions of less than 200 kg on launch services with proven capabilities to be selected on a competitive basis.

To prepare for the future, ESA Member States have further tasked ESA to propose the next generation of European space transportation solutions required for the next decade. To that end, ESA is asked to create a frame for short-cycle demonstration of such space transportation solutions for approval at the occasion of the upcoming Council Meeting at Ministerial Level. Preparation is under way including through ESA's New European Space Transportation Solutions initiative (NESTS) initial studies.

Reference: ESA PR

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