Macron dreams of a European SpaceX

In Toulouse, the French Head of State declared that Europe should assert its sovereignty over the galaxy domains, especially through the use of reusable launchers.

Emmanuel Macron spoke on Wednesday at a meeting of European ministers responsible for space and the European Space Agency (ESA) in Toulouse, as part of the French presidency of the European Union. The Head of State admitted that Europe fell behind its American or Chinese competitors, specifically in terms of rockets and satellite launchers. “Europe has surpassed strategic turning points in recent years, especially in launchers, by underestimating the very fast emergence of some of our competitors. The United States, China and Russia are ahead of Europe in terms of of the number of launches. While others, such as Japan, India, Iran and South Korea, have entered the race very strongly and are in the process of reinvesting significantly, “Macron said.

The French president cited as inspiration the American companies of billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. Mr.’s company is now able to. Musk to deploy reusable launchers and conducts multiple launches on behalf of the American Space Agency (Nasa). Thomas Pesquet, who remained in 2021 for more than six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), was also propelled by a SpaceX rocket before traveling on a SpaceX module, to finally be returned to Earth by a SpaceX capsule. “We undoubtedly underestimate the meteoric emergence of private players who have been able, over the years, to mobilize enormous resources and make real successes, including in terms of technological positioning. SpaceX and Blue Origin. is, alas, not European ”, admits Emmanuel Macron.

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Thus, the president declared that Europe needs to “build major launcher projects”, especially to put its own satellites into orbit but be “competitive”. “Europe must make reusable mini and microlaunchers”, launched Emmanuel Macron. Faced with the rush for American and Chinese Moon, and the emergence of private players in manned flight, the European space community is campaigning for Europe to have its own way to send astronauts into space, without relying on a barter system used. so far to the Russians or to the Americans. This will require large investments for the limited space budget in Europe. Especially since Ariane 6 has been around for a long time.

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Should Europe enter the manned flight race?

The French president also called on Europeans to communicate their proposals in terms of manned flights and space exploration so that a decision on whether or not to take Europe on this path can be made in the autumn. “ESA has already identified ways in space science and manned flight, and I suggest we can support this momentum by working (…) next summer to formulate proposals on our ambitions. in Europe in terms of exploration, manned flights, ”the president said. The aim is “to clarify strategic decisions” that, according to him, need to be made in November, during an ESA ministerial meeting in Paris. “What should be the respective components of manned and robotic flights, especially for flights to the Moon or Mars?” he wondered. “Are we aiming for cooperation in the light of the ISS or strategic autonomy in this area?”, He added, preventing taking the position.

“The galaxy also delivers a part of the dream. What a power of galaxy projects says little about what it is, about its relevance to the world,” said the French president, who wanted to insist Europe has its sovereignty over the domains of the galaxy. “For us Europeans, the viable model of the galaxy is not exploitation, is not the increasing number of tourists in the galaxy (…) more than the only horizon is the exploitation of the Moon’s mining “, he judges, recalling. that space is a “general good that is beneficial to all”.

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To read: The American billionaire has announced three new private missions to SpaceX

“We Europeans believe more in exploration, in knowledge and therefore in long -term flight in human space than in galaxy commodification,” he added.

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