EU and SpaceX reach agreement on satellite launches

The European Union (EU) has finalized a deal with SpaceX, the aerospace company led by Elon Musk, to facilitate satellite launches, marking a significant collaboration between the two entities.

Modern space satellite probe with solar panels

The European Union (EU) has approved a security agreement with the United States, enabling the EU to engage Elon Musk’s SpaceX for satellite launches. This agreement becomes necessary due to delays in Europe’s own Ariane rocket system. As part of the deal, EU and European Space Agency (ESA) personnel will have continuous access to the launchpad, and they will be granted priority in retrieving and storing debris in the US in case of a SpaceX rocket failure.

In 2023, the European Commission secured a €180 million deal with SpaceX to launch four Galileo satellites due to delays with the Ariane 6 rocket developed by ArianeGroup for the European Space Agency (ESA). Despite the upcoming launch of Ariane 6 this summer, commercial missions are not expected until later. The SpaceX contract allows for two Galileo satellite launches this year. The Commission had to arrange alternative missions to maintain Galileo system services due to cancellations and delays involving the Soyuz launcher and the Ariane-6. Consequently, SpaceX emerged as the sole feasible alternative for the launches.