It can still be seen on the Arianespace website: the Russian Soyuz-Rocket. Because in addition to the rockets of the European space agency Esa, Ariane and Vega, the commercial launch vehicle provider is also promoting the Russian rocket. The company, which is a subsidiary of the Ariane Group, has been using the Soyuz. Part of the launch sites of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, since 2011 also from the European launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. Arianespace had them Soyuz previously used for semi-heavy satellites, such as the Galileo navigation system. In terms of capacity, it fits between the two Esa rockets.
What worked for years has now come to an end due to the war in Ukraine, due to sanctions against Russia and the departure of Roskosmos employees from Kourou. Arianespace is in close contact with its customers, governments and institutions at the French and European level “to assess as best as possible all the consequences of this situation and to develop alternatives”, reports the company.
However, it is not entirely clear whether the cooperation can ever be resumed. The only thing that seems certain is that several starts are in jeopardy this year alone, including two with two each. Galileansatellites and several for the Indo-British Internet constellation Oneweb. A flight was canceled two weeks ago. In addition, the space telescope Esa Euclid with a Soyuz be carried into space.
In addition to Arianespace, Esa is also working hard to find replacements for its missions, especially since there are also some for 2023. Soyuz-The beginnings of European projects were planned. They want to focus “in particular on transport systems currently in operation and upcoming operators Vega-C and Ariane 6 “Initially we are concentrating on our own launchers,” Esa boss Josef Aschbacher said Thursday night after the Esa Council. But he also does not rule out “looking outside of Europe if necessary”. The smaller satellites would also be considered small commercial rockets. that are currently developing several start-ups, that is, microlaunchers.
That the missions in a ariana 5 could dodge is technically possible, but requires further replanning, as this rocket has a larger capacity than the Soyuz. But: With the expiration ariana 5 Five more releases are planned for 2022, but have already been booked. At Vega, which is being built in Italy, the capabilities are too small so far and it is only headed for low Earth orbit. The new one would be more suitable. Vega-C, which will take off for the first time soon and could carry around 60 percent more at 2.3 tons. However, a stage is being built in Ukraine, which does not make things easy.
Ariane’s demand could now increase
Now a controversial decision by Esa is taking revenge, he asks for ten more Ariane-5-To cancel rockets again. The Ariane Group, a subsidiary of Airbus and Safran, should build them in parallel with the new model by 2022. At the time when there was talk of a drop in demand for geostationary satellites, Esa preferred to ensure that the new Ariane 6, which has cost almost four billion euros so far, is sufficiently used. As a result, the employees of the rocket manufacturers had to leave, especially from the production of the Ariane 6 it is much more automated than the previous model and the planned construction of up to twelve rockets per year was initially no longer foreseeable due to the drop in demand. Aside from the fact that the rocket’s first launch was delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic and technical issues: the order books are already full, but not as full as expected.
For the failure of Soyuz-missiles for Western customers, however, now there are opportunities that the demand of the Ariane is recovered and production can be increased. For one, the next must Galilean-Satellite anyway with the Ariane 6 be launched, so why not all four “stranded” satellites? On the other hand, the Oneweb company still has six launches pending from its contract with Arianespace. Since 2019, the service provider with 13 Soyuz-Missiles already 428 a website– Satellites placed in Earth orbit. And three years ago, the head of Arianespace, Stéphane Israël tweetedwhat a website also with the first flight of the Ariane 6 and optionally launch two more flights of the new rocket. Only it has been delayed several times. Therefore, if it really takes off at the end of the year, as is currently reported, Arianespace could Soyuz– Fill in the gaps more easily.