Launcher strategy

European Flags with EU Flag

It is more than 30 years since a group of European governments decided that Europe needed guaranteed access to space, and that it made sense to combine their efforts to achieve this goal. Thanks to their foresight, Europe has developed a range of launchers and has its own launch base in French Guiana.

Access to space brings many benefits. Space exploration provides greater knowledge of our solar system, better navigation and telecommunication systems, and the means to monitor our environment. This is only possible because we have the launchers capable of placing satellites accurately into space.

Ariane is the tangible sign of what Europe can do when it is genuinely united

The benefits of space exploration have expanded in ways which could not have been envisaged even 30 years ago. Space applications will continue to grow, which is why guaranteed access to space now, and in the future, is so important.

The European Union and ESA recognise the growing importance of space and for a number of years have been working together to draw up a European strategy for space. This strategy aims to ensure that Europe is equipped to face the future with confidence. This means ensuring that Europe has the launchers to meet institutional and commercial demands, and ensuring that Europe’s Spaceport remains a byword for excellence and reliability.

Building for the future

ESA is able to build on its years of experience of developing launchers to:

  • maintain the competitiveness and affordability of Ariane launchers
  • foster the creation of a European institutional market for Ariane
  • ensure that Europe can respond to market demands by developing the small launcher Vega and facilitating the use of Europe’s Spaceport by the Russian Soyuz rocket
  • support European industry, technology and research capabilities by improving industrial competitiveness and promoting innovation
  • create employment
  • develop the next generation of launchers
  • maintain the ground infrastructure needed for launches
  • encourage international cooperation and play a leading role in future developments

Last update: 10 December 2012

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.