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European Space Launch Capabilities and Prospects


This chapter provides an overview of European access to space capabilities – Ariane 5, Vega, and Soyuz. In first place, it recalls the security reasons and the events that led European space fairing nations to join efforts in developing a common launch system. In second, European access to space is described in terms of launch program organization and development as well as of technical aspects and exploitation of launchers. Finally, a look at evolutions of current capabilities and new-generation launchers offers the perspective on European space transportation, along with some concluding remarks.