by Staff Writers
Naples, Italy (AFP) Nov 21, 2012
France and Germany have overcome differences on building a successor to the Ariane 5 rocket, French Science Minister Genevieve Fioraso said at a European space meeting here Wednesday.
A German-backed plan for an Ariane 5 ME will go ahead, with a first flight scheduled for 2017, and as much of its technology as possible will be used in a future Ariane 6, a launcher promoted by France, whose maiden mission would be in 2021-2022, she said.
"We have established a joint document with our German partners, which naturally is extended to our other partners in Ariane," she told journalists at a budget meeting of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The two-day talks, which began on Tuesday, had been overshadowed by discord over a replacement for the ageing but reliable Ariane 5.
The new rocket should provide more flexible launch options for the swiftly-changing satellite market and wean itself off the 120 million euros ($152 million) a year that the Ariane 5 needs from ESA's budget each year.
France had been pushing for a smaller, sleeker Ariane 6, which would require investment of about four billion euros ($6.45 billion).
But industrialists feared this timescale was way too long and would give the advantage to nimble rivals in commercial satellite launches.
They preferred a German-backed option, an Ariane 5 ME (for "Midlife Evolution"), which would be ready by 2017 at a putative cost of two billion euros ($2.5 billion).
ESA ministers will meet again in 2014 to assess progress, Fioraso said.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|