After the Ukraine war prevented access to Russia's Soyuz, Europe will commission two rocket launches from Elon Musk's SpaceX, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday.
The Hera probe, a follow-up mission to NASA's DART spacecraft, which last month was successful in changing the path of a moonlet in the first test of a potential planetary defence system, will also be launched together with the Euclid space telescope.
Following a meeting of the 22-nation agency's ministerial council, director general of the ESA Josef Aschbacher told reporters that the member states have resolved that Euclid and Hera are planned to be launched aboard Falcon 9.
Launches are scheduled for 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Up to two launches may be impacted by the changeover from Soyuz to SpaceX, according to industry insiders.
The Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer, or EarthCARE, a third payload that was scheduled to travel on the Soyuz, will now fly on Europe's Vega C, according to Aschbacher.
The EarthCARE satellite, created by Airbus (AIR.PA) for the European and Japanese space agencies, will be launched in early 2024 to close a gap in the scientific modelling of climate change.
Edited By : Bidyut Buddha Gogoi (Linkedin)