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The eco brief. Space Europe: France wins


Take off of an Ariane 6 rocket from the Kourou base (Guyana), August 5, 2020. Illustrative photo. (HANDOUT / EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY)

This field visit was not intended to announce a revolutionary French project for the space adventure but to show a will and the means put on the table. Willingness to organize better and to innovate more in the face of increasing American and Asian competition. As for the means: 500 million euros are provided for in the recovery plan to accelerate projects underway within two years and carried out by Cnes, the National Center for Space Studies.

In Vernon, ArianeGroup is developing the Promotheus engine. It should enable the European Space Agency to develop a low-cost, reusable rocket engine demonstrator. For now, the only reusable launcher – recovered by landing after returning from space – is produced by Space X, the American company of billionaire Elon Musk, also bosses of the automaker Tesla. Elon Musk whose civilian spacecraft are largely funded by US defense.

In order to win, the cost of the Promotheus engine must be ten times lower than that of the Ariane VI engine, the new generation of our launchers, thanks in particular to 3D technology. Behind, there is also the investment in hydrogen for rocket propulsion, a technology precisely developed by the ArianeGroup site in Eure.

Europe is deploying the Copernicus network to monitor climate change and promote spatial planning. There is also the Galileo system, a big competitor to the American GPS. Galileo, of civilian design, is much more precise than the American GPS, of military design. It is a real technological and strategic battle with European sovereignty as a real stake in matters of intelligence, environmental and climatic research, economy but also security in the face of an increasingly disturbed and complicated world.

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