Space News reports on the results of a study concerning future ESA programs:
A six-month joint French-German government study of future launch vehicle and space station investment options has reinforced the German space agency’s preference for an upgraded Ariane 5 rocket instead of a new-generation Ariane 6, and cooperation with the United States on a U.S.-led crew vehicle instead of a European-led alternative, the agency’s chief said Aug. 21.
Johann-Dietrich Woerner, chairman of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, insisted in an interview that he was speaking only for himself, and not for the German government….
Opposing that idea was a French view that Europe should bypass Ariane 5 ME and begin immediate investment in a next-generation rocket with a modular design. Unlike its more powerful predecessor, built to carry two satellites at a time to geostationary transfer orbit, the new vehicle would be designed to profitably carry single satellites weighing 2,500 to 6,500 kilograms, with a possible increase to 8,000 kilograms….
The French-German study also examined whether Europe should join the United States in developing the Orion deep-space crew-transport vehicle by investing the 450 million euros Europe owes NASA for space station charges to 2020.
A French alternative, which had found support in Italy, proposed a Europe-led vehicle that would operate in low Earth orbit and perform a variety of missions, including possible removal of orbital debris.
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