Launcher strategy

European Flags with EU Flag

It is more than 30 years since a group of European governments decided that Europe needed guaranteed and autonomous 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 its own base in French Guiana for European launches. To have access to space is the first enabling element in the utilisation of space and the many benefits this brings.

Space utilisation and exploration yields greater knowledge of our Solar System, enables better navigation and telecommunication systems, and provides the data to monitor our environment. All 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 that 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 EU 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 and Vega launchers,
  • maintain the ground infrastructure needed for launches,
  • foster the creation of a European institutional market for Ariane and Vega,
  • ensure that Europe can respond to evolving market demands by continuing the improvement of Ariane and 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 and the related ground infrastructures to better serve the institutional and commercial market
  • encourage international cooperation and play a leading role in future developments.

Last update: 14 October 2014

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