Rocket Factory Augsburg Will Research if Europe can Compete with SpaceX8th Apr 2021
European launch providers, including Rocket Factory Augsburg, are starting to get concerned about SpaceX and its dominance in the launch market. Just recently, ESA announced its intention to study the potential of future space transportation. A total of three companies – Rocket Factory Augsburg, ArianeGroup, and Avio – have received €600,000 to study launch system potential for the next decade.
Rocket Factory Augsburg & Its Take on SpaceX
According to Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA director of transportation, the new study should lay the foundations for future space solutions that go beyond today’s Ariane 6 and Vega-C. Back in the day, these launchers had what it takes to compete in the international launch market, but the latter has changed greatly since 2014.
After SpaceX started launching its reusable Falcon9 rocket and offering the most affordable rideshare mission costs, Europe and its launchers have lost their competitive edge. The new study, led by Rocket Factory Augsburg, should offer new solutions that could bring Europe back into the space launch race.
Rocket Factory Augsburg is a German aerospace company, currently developing their heavyweight rocket. Some sources have even called the startup “German SpaceX,” so there seems to be no better organisation to conduct this vital research.
Right now, European leaders understand that their rockets have lost their competitive edge. Vega-C, for example, can carry 1.5 tons of payload into polar orbit, however Falcon9 from SpaceX is already threatening to take its missions away.
Europe lags behind SpaceX not only in terms of payload capacity. SpaceX has now collaborated with NASA and is getting ready for manned space flights. Thomas Pesquet is a French astronaut and mission specialist for the Crew-2 mission. He may become one of the first Europeans to reach space, but NASA, not ESA, will lead the mission.
All of these factors explain ESA’s interest in the future of space and its transportation solutions. So, hand-picking several promising companies from different European states to conduct this research makes all the sense in the world. Ariane originates from France, and Vega has Italian roots. As already mentioned, Rocket Factory Augsburg is a German company, and many believe it has a bright future within the aerospace industry.