The new load carrier is scheduled to take off for the first time in 2023, but the launch has been delayed for years. Now it has to work – there are no alternatives due to the war.
The Galileo satellites keep the world going: around two billion users depend on the European navigation system. However, modernization and expansion are stalling. Ten new Galileo satellites are currently lying around uselessly – you can’t put them into orbit. “There is a shortage of rockets,” complains Marco Fuchs, head of satellite manufacturer OHB in Bremen.
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is also crippling European space travel. The European Space Agency Esa and the Russian Roscosmos have stopped cooperation, so the Soyuz rocket, which is important for Europe, is missing. Rocket launches are in danger because the necessary engines are being built in Ukraine.
Esa can still carry out five missions with the Ariane 5 rocket phased-out model, a maximum of three with the small Italian Vega launcher. It is uncertain whether the new Ariane 6 will be able to fly from next year. As early as 2023, Europe could run out of missiles.