Europe on hunt for new partners to launch space missions as Russia exits
The European Space Agency (ESA) has said that India is an option as it looks for new partners to launch its missions into space after it lost access to Russian Soyuz launch vehicles.
"I would say there are two and a half options that we're discussing. One is SpaceX, that is clear. Another one is possibly Japan. It is waiting for the inaugural flight of its next-generation rocket. Another option could be India," ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher told Reuters.
The development blocked western access to Russia's Soyuz launch vehicle, which had been lifting off several European and American missions, including satellites and astronauts. ESA, meanwhile, is in the process of preliminary technical discussions with SpaceX to use its launchers.
While the talks remain in an exploratory manner, Aschbacher said that SpaceX is the more operational of those and certainly one of the backup launches they are looking at. "We of course need to make sure that they are suitable. It's not like jumping on a bus. We are looking into this technical compatibility but we have not asked for a commercial offer yet. We just want to make sure that it would be an option in order to make a decision on asking for a firm commercial offer," he added.
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