Europe and launchers
Ariane is the tangible sign of what Europe can do when it is genuinely united, when it resolves to pursue European goals and there is the shared wisdom to see what should be avoided.
Charles Hanin, President of the 1973 European Space Conference
When an Ariane launcher heads into space, more than 12 000 Europeans, living in 12 European countries and working in more than 100 European companies, can be proud of having contributed to such an impressive event.
Through its development of the Ariane launchers and Europe’s spaceport, the Launcher Programme supports European industry, creates jobs and strengthens cooperation between European countries. The Ariane programme and Europe’s spaceport show that by working together, European countries can achieve far more than they could by themselves.
Sharing the work
When the Launcher Programme decides to undertake a new project the work is shared between large industrial companies. They, in turn, share their activities with their partner companies and contractors. Projects are organised so that each contributing country obtains a share of the work consistent with its financial contribution.
To date, the return on investments in the space industry has been good. A survey commissioned by ESA in 1997 showed the direct economic return from the Ariane programmes to be in the ratio of 1 to 4, that is, each participant country obtained three times its initial investment through contracts awarded to its industry.
ESA’s Launcher Programme has four main objectives:
- to ensure that Europe has independent access to space
- to develop European industry by improving industrial competitiveness and promoting innovation
- to create employment
- to promote collaboration between industry and between countries
An added bonus of ESA’s Launchers Programme is that the links forged between industry have been widened to include collaboration and cooperation between Europe’s countries, towns and citizens.
Last update: 12 May 2004