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France, Germany, and Italy agree on allowing competition from European rocket startups

Capitalism in space: France, Germany, and Italy yesterday signed an agreement [pdf] whereby they agreed to push European policy-makers to allow competition from independent European rocket startups for launch contracts.

At least, this is what I think they have agreed to. I have read the article and the agreement several times, and remain somewhat unsure of their intent. The agreement is couched in the typical bureaucratic language specifically designed to obscure meaning. The article does little to clarify things.

It appears this is the key language in the agreement:

The proposed acknowledgement of operational European NewSpace micro and mini launch systems for ESA satellite launch service procurements, upon its adoption by Council, would effectively represent a first step towards an evolution of the launch service procurement policy for ESA missions as referred to in the ESA Council Resolution adopted in 2005.

What I gather is that these three countries no longer want European launch contract awards limited to the Arianespace rockets Ariane-6 and Vega-C. They want bidding opened to all European rocket startups, and they want the elimination of rules that require all contracts distributed by quota to European countries.

Germany already has three commercial rocket startups on the verge of their first launch, and apparently wants the European Space Agency to stop favoring Arianespace in launch contracts. That France and Italy are going along with this is significant, since Ariane-6 is dominated by French developers and Vega-C is dominated by Italian developers.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • Edward

    It took seventeen years to take the first step in implementing a policy? From the schedule of milestones at the end of the agreement document, it will take another year to year and a half to take this first step. Sheesh! It must be a government operation.

  • Edward: Though like you I find the speed in which Europe does things to be as slow as liquid glass, in this case they are referring back to the policy established early in the history of Arianespace, that then gave this ESA commercial operation favored status. This new agreement is a statement by these three nations that they want that old policy changed.

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