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France, Germany and Italy sign agreement on launch vehicle development

An agreement between three European nations might assist in securing short-term funding for launch vehicle development but have a greater impact on how programmes are funded in the long run.

An agreement on "the future of launcher exploitation in Europe" was signed, according to the governments of France, Germany, and Italy on November 22. The agreement is meant to increase the competitiveness of European vehicles while also ensuring independent European access to space, according to the governments.

The agreement contains a timeline that specifies a new system for public financing of vehicles like the Ariane 6 and Vega C must be in place by June 2024. The capacity to attain goal pricing as well as "a mechanism motivating cost reduction" with money "commensurate to the commercial risks incurred" are included.

The agreement also supports allowing several European businesses' new, compact launch vehicles, which are currently being developed, to compete for European Space Agency missions. Germany in particular has sponsored the development of commercial small launch vehicles and sees this as a top priority.

The deal is timed to the ongoing ESA ministerial conference, when member states will decide how much money to give initiatives including the creation of launch vehicles. In total, the ESA is requesting little over 3 billion euros ($3.1 billion) for space transportation, including 600 million euros for an Ariane 6 "transition programme" when the rocket enters service; its first flight has been pushed back to at least late 2023.

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