Ariane 6 exists so that European countries can get independent access to space between now and 2030s. The launch cost is almost 2x the cost of Falcon 9. Both platforms can lift 22t to LEO.

6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design will be very similar: reusable, RP-1/LOX, Prometheus engine is similar reusable open cycle engine as Merlin with lots of 3D printed parts.

Ariane is one generation behind SpaceX, but that still puts them on second place. All while being independent from the whims of one single individual, ensuring independent launch capabilities for national security reasons.
> Ariane is one generation behind SpaceX, but that still puts them on second place.

The first doesn't imply the second.

Ariane 6 is behind:

* ULA's Vulcan

* SpaceX's F9/FH

* SpaceX's Starship (who knows when it'll start launching payloads)

* Blue Origin's New Glenn (supposed to be launched in September)

in terms of raw performance as well as $/kg.

There are also a number of other rockets like RocketLab's Neutron and Relativity's Terran R that seem like they'll outcompete Ariane 6.

The medium/heavy lift market is getting much more crowded than it has been in the past.

Two operational, and a bunch of dreams.

Right now, Europe has a functioning rocket program under their own control.

I think it's understandable for an engineering community to talk about the tech, but people seem to be forgetting the geopolitics.

You must have some wild dreams. Starship and New Glenn are basically as dreamy as Ariane 6. Starship is essentially operational as an expendable launcher already, and NG is starting the paperwork for first launch.

Ariane 6 will serve fine as an "assured access to space" for the local market (which is important), and good on them for finally getting it off the ground. But it's design goal was "Falcon 9 competitor" and it certainly isn't.

Ariane 6 has flow successfully. New Glenn is missing in action, and Starship still has a long way to go before it is ready to actually put payloads in orbit. Ariane 6 is ahead of both, given it has actually flown and delivered satellites to orbit.
Starship oughta be delivering payloads to orbit within 12 months.
Europe again has one functioning rocket - after it had 3: - Soyuz from Kourou, which understandably is no longer politically viable now. - Ariane 5 - Vega/Vega C (which keeps crashing in its latest iteration) Not I good track record I'm afraid.
They had that before Ariane 6 that cost 5 billion $.
> Two operational, and a bunch of dreams.

Lol.

Starship has successfully launched more than Ariane 6. The only reason they aren't launching payloads right now is because they want to nail down reuse first.

There's less info on New Glenn, but a lot more footage has come out since David Limp took over. And the DoD thinks Blue Origin has a good enough shot at launching this year that they added them to NSSLv3.

> Right now, Europe has a functioning rocket program under their own control.

> I think it's understandable for an engineering community to talk about the tech, but people seem to be forgetting the geopolitics.

Sure.

But that would have also been true if they'd just kept Ariane 5.

A lot of people are dumping on Ariane 6 because ArianeGroup spent a bunch of money and time to make a rocket that's not that much better than the previous one. When they could have made an actually competitive rocket instead.

Not to mention the quite cheap flight-proven Indian rockets & a whole bunch of traditional + private Chinese companies, some actively trying to clone Falcon 9 or even Starship.
> Not to mention the quite cheap flight-proven Indian rockets & a whole bunch of traditional + private Chinese companies, some actively trying to clone Falcon 9 or even Starship.

It seems like most of the world has decided not to fly on Chinese rockets, so those aren't really competition.

But I totally agree with regard to India: PSLV and GSLV are both good, competitive rockets. It'd kind of a shame that they don't launch more often. It makes me wonder if there's some sort of organizational dysfunction going on. It does sound like they're going to be launching OneWeb going forward, though, which is nice.

> It seems like most of the world has decided not to fly on Chinese rockets, so those aren't really competition.

The Chinese market is so large that this does not matter: https://payloadspace.com/2023-orbital-launches-by-country/

India's space program/industry, though significant, is much smaller than China's. SpaceX makes up 90% of USA's launches at present.

    US: 109.
    China: 67.
    Russia: 19.
    Europe: 3.
    Other: 25.
Relying on a company which is headed by a famously unreliable narcissist seems like a bad choice though, I wouldn't really count those SpaceX options as proper alternatives

EDIT: I would like downvotes to explain their reasoning.

It's a tired ad hominem, all the evidence shows that SpaceX is by far the most reliable operator in the space industry right now.
When the question is "should we trust this guy?", judging the character of the guy based on past behavior and statements is not a fallacy.
What exactly has Musk actually done that goes so far beyond the pale of typical corporate shenanigans that it would register as not being trustworthy to governments? At most he has had overly optimistic timelines, overly optimistic social media statements about future capabilities, a bunch of business ideas that didn't pan out and some QA issues in a car manufacturer. This is pretty par for the course for every business.

The whining about him being untrustworthy stems almost entirely from him having different political views (and not being afraid to voice them), and the stream of mostly unsubstantiated hit pieces and awful reporting regarding Starlink in Ukraine.

With the way you guys talk about it though, he might as well have personally caused the crash of more than two full passenger jets.

I wouldn't downplay the Starlink Ukraine thing the way you're doing. But if you're still a Musk apologist after all these years, there's nothing I can say to convince you.

For many of us, the whole diver pedophilia accusation was enough, and that pales in comparison to everything that came after.

Why wouldn't I downplay the Starlink Ukraine thing, when everything about it from the media has been at best misleading?

The usage of Starlink to control drones wasn't allowed because that is not a civilian-style use case and thus would require the US government to provide authorization (remember that Starlink was initially provided directly by SpaceX without going through typical US government aid processes). The reports about outages buried the lede that the terminals with the outage were ones provided and paid for by third parties that had decided to stop paying for them, and the reports themselves mentioned that Ukraine had swapped them out. The usage of Starlink in Crimea had always been disallowed to prevent Russian usage, and to be in compliance with US policy at the time. Ukraine had made the unreasonable request of having it enabled with a day's notice, which was obviously too fast for a decision to be made, it was enabled a few months later when things had been properly worked out with both governments (this was still well before the story ever became public). As for Russia using captured Starlink terminals, the DoD has also come out in support of SpaceX's efforts to mitigate it, making it clear that it isn't an easy problem to solve, as they need to somehow distinguish between third party terminals in use by Ukraine, from terminals captured or black-market imported by Russia being operated in Ukraine.

There's nothing you can say to convince me because you likely have nothing to say that is backed up by facts. I'm not saying you have to like him, I'm saying that there's nothing he or his companies have done that makes them any less trustworthy or any more untrustworthy, compared to any other company the government works with. You'd have to be able to point to something worse than even what Boeing has done, considering that the US govt continues to consider Boeing to be an important defense partner.

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Yeah I guess acknowledging well documented reality and keeping things in perspective makes me a Musk-apologist and cultist. Which echo chambers and lies would you recommend I consume to correct this?
I don't know what well documented reality you're talking about, you've made a bunch of unsourced claims wrt the Starlink thing which may or may not be correct, and you've chosen to close your eyes and ignore everything else you know people tend to bring up (even stuff I specifically brought up). There's nothing more for us to discuss. You even admitted yourself that there's nothing anyone could say to make you change your mind, so why are we still here?
We're still here because you seem to continue to misunderstand (assuming you're posting in good faith). "There's nothing you can say to convince me because you likely have nothing to say that is backed up by facts" is asking for something concrete that is a reason governments would view certain companies as too untrustworthy to work with. I specifically said that it doesn't matter if you like him, that's different from being so untrustworthy that their services shouldn't be used despite being the best option.

The only thing you've pointed to is an incident that obviously does not rise to the level of being a reason for a government to not work with a Musk-owned company. He responded to a guy who told him to shove his submarine up his ass by calling him a pedo, it was admittedly an incredibly dumb way to handle it, but obviously not a reason for a government to not work with him. The rest of what you've said is the usual thing where people make comments vaguely about an issue without ever saying anything specific so you can't be countered. Every thing I mentioned is backed up by articles:

The Starlink TOS mentions that it cannot be used in weaponry (ie drone control) because that brings it under ITAR export restrictions, which requires approval by the US government (and afaik the government has not authorized this): https://www.starlink.com/legal/documents/DOC-1041-35650-61

The report of the outages mentions itself that "The batch of terminals were also rotated out as concerns grew that service could be turned off, in order to minimize the impact, the source said." :https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/04/politics/spacex-ukraine-elon-...

The Crimea service activation correction: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/sep/12/elon-musk-biog...

The DoD commenting on the difficulty of ensuring Russia can't use Starlink: https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2024/05/defense-departmen...

That said, I'll stop here, I think I've said enough that other open minded people will be able to form a less biased opinion even if you refuse to engage in good faith.

And that’s before we start counting in China and, soon, possibly, India.

Ariana 6 might be the stupidest civil aerospace project in the world after Boeing’s Starliner.

HN is amazing:

Europe does something

> Aha it's bad why did they even try

Europe doesn't do anything

> Aha Europe always late, never innovate, Europe bad

As an European, this project is quite typical for Europe. Technically behind the times, serves French strategic interests, non-competitive on the private launch market.

"Doing something" isn't a goal in itself. Ariane 6 in context of the 2020s is similar to programming a new MySpace app for Symbian OS right now. Hard work, costly, needs a lot of qualified workforce, and the product has very limited audience.

So the entire world should rather be dependent on SpaceX, and be done with it?

Arianespace had the lead and lost it, because it kept the old way of doing things. Or are you arguing Ariane 5 was technically behind and wasn't competitive in the '00s?

Ariane 6 is not that far behind the other "old space" companies, which the US is struggling to keep around as alternatives to SpaceX. It's not like Boeing and ULA are doing much better.

We should be critical of Arianespace, and find ways to get it to improve, but just throwing everything at SpaceX will do nothing to keep them honest.

> the entire world should rather be dependent on SpaceX, and be done with it?

No, compete. There is a menagerie of European space start-ups starved of oxygen by ArianeSpace.

Arianespace is Europe’s ULA. Europe with Ariane 6 is about as dependent on SpaceX as Europe without. The difference is whether it will continue to be dependent on SpaceX. Every euro that goes to Arianespace cements SpaceX’s global dominance.

> Arianespace had the lead and lost it

When was Arianespace in the lead?

> Ariane 6 is not that far behind the other "old space" companies

Granted. Not a great show for €5bn.

From about 1990 to about 2016 Arianespace was the leader in commercial (meaning mostly GEO) launch, and acted like it. (Actually, they still do, just it's less believable now.)

In retrospect, I don't think they ever really had the eye of the tiger; mostly they managed to be less terrible than the competition. The US competitors got far too fat at the government teat and didn't even try, and the Russians couldn't keep Proton from 'sploding.

They'd probably still be king of the (small and expensive) hill without SpaceX. But they'd be in hot soup today, if some sort of LEO constellation market had come around without Falcon, 'cause they wouldn't even have started on Ariane 6 and Ariane 5 isn't well suited for that, and "Europeanized" Soyuz, which they'd use for that, would be unavailable due to Russian imperialism.

> They'd probably still be king of the (small and expensive) hill without SpaceX.

Maybe.

IMO, ULA's Vulcan is more commercially competitive than Ariane 6.

But both rockets were developed in response to SpaceX, so maybe neither would have been made otherwise. In which case, ULA would be in even more hot water than ArianeGroup, since they wouldn't be able to get engines for Atlas V post Ukraine war.

> When was Arianespace in the lead?

Before the rise of SpaceX.

> For over 20 years, Ariane rockets dominated commercial launch—by 2004, Arianespace had 50 percent of the global market for commercial launches.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/what-can-we-learn-ariane-futur...

The space start-ups are starving, because nobody sees any business opportunities there, and because governments don't care about rockets beyond baseline national security needs. If somebody actually wanted a reusable rocket, the real issue would be engineering, not funding. Even a small country like Finland could run two programs the scale of Ariane 6 with the money it's currently using to support Ukraine.
> space start-ups are starving, because nobody sees any business opportunities there

I’ve raised money for and invested in space start-ups. There is a lot of opportunity. There are even more vapid PowerPoint decks.

> If somebody actually wanted a reusable rocket, the real issue would be engineering, not funding

It’s absolutely a problem of funding. You need to be able to tell a group of highly-demanded engineers with other life options that they will have access to the materials and resources repeated destructive validation of exorbitantly-expensive kit requires.

That doesn’t mean any numpty with a few billion can do it. But, like, Europe could. (It hasn’t because that would threaten Ariane 6.)

> Even a small country like Finland could run two programs the scale of Ariane 6 with the money it's currently using to support Ukraine

But they don’t.

The lack of funding reflects the lack of interest. For-profit investors don't see the business opportunity and governments don't see the need. There are other uses for the money, and the people with money don't want better rockets that much. Rockets are not particularly expensive, but they are also not particularly relevant.
> lack of funding reflects the lack of interest. For-profit investors don't see the business opportunity

Not true. Launch and propulsion are amply funded. (If you have a good idea in the space, and capacity to execute, I’d love to connect.)

> Rockets are not particularly expensive, but they are also not particularly relevant

Hell of a lot more to launch than just rockets. And there is demand, today, for non-SpaceX launch providers.

Plenty of capital stands ready for this sector. And hundreds of millions are deployed every quarter. (Yes, private capital, occasionally in the billions.) SpaceX crowds out the market, yes, but Arianespace suffocates it by providing the same crowding effect with none of the utility in pay-off. And part of SpaceX’s wake comes in the form of commodification, particularly at the low-mass end. (To be clear, I think smalsat launch is overblown.)

IMO, a big problem is that SpaceX makes it difficult to enter the market. They keep their prices very low, and have an amazing reliability record. Which makes it tough to close a business case around medium/heavy lift rockets. Especially taking into account development risk.

And it's not any easier trying to make a small-lift rocket. They suck the volume out of that market with their Transporter and Bandwagon launches.

"So the entire world should rather be dependent on SpaceX, and be done with it?"

That is not what I said. We badly need (real) alternatives.

But French-government-need-driven development is bringing us nowhere. Paris is happy to have six launches a year and doesn't feel the need to finance and support anything beyond that. The rest of the EU doesn't seem to have any strong motivations either.

Yes, the US old space is exactly as bad.

> doesn't feel the need to finance and support anything beyond

Where did you get that idea from? They are financing the development of Ariane Next - Europe's version of a Falcon Heavy - just as the other ESA members do.

You could probably have said the same about Airbus at some point. But now we are pretty happy we don't have to rely on Boeing.
Airbus hasn't been making excuses about how they don't need to compete with Boeing for a decade. They've been focusing on being actually competitive.
Also there is real competition downmarket for regional jets
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>"Doing something" isn't a goal in itself.

Almost all space activity, with the exception of satellite launches, is useless. Let's say we build a Mars and Moon colony, then what? You do it, because you want it as a goal in itself. If you don't grasp that, you don't understand anything about space.

The same fundamental problem also applies to the idea of an economy that is 100% productive and that consumption is evil. If you get rid of consumers, you can also get rid of the producers. You can get rid of the economy. No human existence can be justified under the guise of "productivity" unless that productivity leads up to some consumptive activity.

"If you don't grasp that, you don't understand anything about space."

That's quite a self-confident, if not arrogant, take, which also misinterpretes my words.

Ariane 6 is a launcher, not a Moon base. Launchers should strive to be economical, because there is a real orbital economy, as you admit, and because the entities which launch them may be cash-strapped.

You yourself wouldn't buy a car or a bicycle that would have to be discarded after the first trip.

Or if your point is that Ariane 6 is basically a white elephant project, well, that would be pretty damning.

Nonsense. The issue here is that they're doing the wrong thing. SpaceX proved reusable rockets were the future at about the same time Arianne 6 got funding to begin development (2016). They should have cancelled the project and started again with a reusable rocket at that point. Of course they didn't because of politics, but it does mean they did a stupid thing and spent a ton of money on a rocket that was obsolete before it left the drawing board, just like SLS.
You’ll find no complaints out of me on ESA’s scientific missions. ArianeSpace is simply a shitshow. And this isn’t a European problem—I’ll call out ULA and Boeing at keeping them company.
It's bit like the "too big to fail" that happens to banks, but "too strategic to fail", which is common in aerospace with dual civilian/military applications.

Companies in that space can have islands of inconceivable incompetence that remain surprisingly stable.

I mean maybe what they do is not good, and also not doing anything is bad too?

I don't see the contradiction what you seem to be implying.

Just because something must be done, doesn't mean that anything done should be celebrated. One can still do the wrong thing, and people can comment on that.

Also HN is not a single entity. Even if you would see some contradiction between attitudes (which I don't see here) it could be still explained by the fact that many different people post on HN and they have different opinions, thoughts and values.

> And that’s before we start counting in China

China is... weird.

Most of the rockets they launch are small hypergolic rockets (Long March 2-4) with clear ICBM heritage. Which are multiple generations "behind" Ariane 6.

They do have some more modern cryogenic rockets, but they can't seem to scale those operationally. Presumably it'll happen eventually. But who knows when that'll be.

> Most of the rockets they launch are small hypergolic rockets

They’re decently far along on their reusable booster [1], with a methalox engine being developed by a private company [2].

Of course, everything looks cute until it flies. But that programme is arguably ahead of anything ArianeSpace is working on.

[1] https://spacenews.com/china-to-debut-large-reusable-rockets-...

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longyun_(rocket_engine)

Not a big deal though, as long as they are independent of other nations (or regional coalitions), this is a huge boon for Europe, especially with what might happen in America after the next election and what happened to Russia and China a long time ago.
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Are you deliberately ignoring China?
This is not even close to being true.

Vulcan rocket has already launch and cost the same as Ariane 6 without subsidy. They have a credible reuse program called SMART. Vulcan uses advanced stage engines.

BlueOrigin, for all their diddling and money wasting, is gone launch pretty soon with a rocket that is way more advanced in literally every way.

RocketLab has been executing quickly and their next generation Neutron rocket will be on the market literally a decade before any reusable offering from Arianespace. Their engine development is working on a staged rocket engine far more advanced then ESA next generation engine. Development on that engine is progressing much, much faster and is cheaper.

Relativity's Terran R rocket is deep in development. Lots of component testing and fully built engines being tested. Their Terran R will also hit market many, many years ahead of whatever Ariane Next is gone.

And in fact, while all these people working on next generation system, there isn't even the glimmer of political agreement about development of a next generation European system.

Either you are just lying or you have not actually studied the launch market at all.

> All while being independent from the whims of one single individual, ensuring independent launch capabilities for national security reasons.

Yeah really sucks for the US to have 5 very aggressive competitive companies coming online. Much better to have monopoly that requires 5 billion $ to get the most basic rocket upgrade ever to fly.

Arguably at most third place, since partly reusable New Glenn (Blue Origin) is already planned to launch in a few months, currently September. Though lower stage reuse might only happen later.
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Ariane is apparently so obsolete that they are behind rockets that haven't even launched yet!
Ariane 6 isn't significantly ahead of New Glenn in terms of time. Probably a few months difference for date of first launch. Just as Vulcan launched a few months ahead of Ariane 6.
New Glenn is a ground up unproven design. Ariane 6 is an incremental improvement from a well proven and highly reliable rocket. Just because they’re both making their first flights doesn’t mean they’re comparable as commercial offerings.

The cost to build a satellite is high enough that most customers don’t want it to explode. Until New Glenn has a solid track record they’re not really comparable.

New Glenn still has to fly though
There is little doubt that it will do so in a few months. The main engines have already been tested successfully on Vulcan, a few months ago.
You’re not really reading what I wrote but ok.
I have read it, maybe you just didn't understand what I said.
What wisdom do you expect people to drive from something not having a property until it has that property?
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So because an incumbent exists ESA should give up, let their production and development pipeline rot away and "enjoy" the monopoly until it's too late to change something?
at this stage I question the resolve of any European leader in actually wanting to achieve anything of note in a consequential manner. it's cheaper but not cost-free to sustain a narrative of "independence" and "alternative to incumbent" when the actual result is just wasting tax payers money for vanity projects with no clear path to actually build a sustainable alternative to the incumbent.

ESA has no resources to directly compete with spaceX or china unless Europe changes attitude and realizes that they have the resources and responsibility to do more in this mission for humanity

> it's cheaper but not cost-free to sustain a narrative of "independence" and "alternative to incumbent"

The narrative is independent of the price.

SpaceX has showed that they may refuse service in various situations, such as drone access to Starlink Internet in a battle during Ukraine war. Thus a government being dependent on them for their space fleet, gambles the possibility of being suddenly unable to guarantee commercial services such as Galileo GNSS, or during military operations.

This was a special case. Much of Ukraine's connectivity came via donations from SpaceX, and via their commercial business. They gave free connectivity to Ukraine for a direct military purpose. There's legitimate reasons for why SpaceX would not want to be blurring the lines between the two. Programs such as the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program exist for this reason, providing a legal and contractual framework for such arrangements that route business through the state, with the legal and diplomatic oversight that comes with such.

SpaceX rushed to provide terminals to Ukraine for free when they asked for them, and that was laudable. But SpaceX had no mature defense sales program set up, or it was bypassed. I could argue that this was another instance where Elon's impulsiveness created issues that SpaceX would have to deal with down the line, such as ongoing payments and the lack of a shield for their commercial business.

Properly set up, a defense sale will include such things like a guaranteed minimum buy, service level agreements, and the legal and diplomatic framework to provide a level of shielding to the contracting company from third-party complaints to alleviate the risk of an arbitrary service shutdown.

In that case, tough luck for us.

We cannot build an European equivalent of Starlink with expendable rockets. It would be just too expensive to build hundreds and hundreds of one-time rockets and immediately destroy them.

> SpaceX has showed that they may refuse service in various situations, such as drone access to Starlink Internet in a battle during Ukraine war

If the goal is building a European Starlink, Ariane 6 is a step backward. It fundamentally cannot support the required launch cadence and doesn’t build any of the foundational technologies required to get there. (Analogous to Starliner, which was also pitched as a back-up plan.)

my argument is, none of the observable actions from European leadership are effective towards independence and I would argue those actions are detrimental - ie. wasting money in a decaying, incapable and parasitic organizations
Next time SpaceX should simply refuse to provide aid until countries requesting aid get everything approved through the US government first. Otherwise people like you will continue to act like it was unreasonable that SpaceX wouldn't allow Ukraine to do things with Starlink that were potentially in conflict with officially stated US policy.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I am not sure if you heard about it, but there's a war going on to the east, and the stance of the government currently saying yeah or nay to launching European stuff to space is far from being guaranteed to remain the same.

I'd wager to say that this is hardly a matter of competition, but simply to guarantee continuation of a basic need in a situation where it might become much more important

They did give up by building a disposable rocket in the 2020s
> So because an incumbent exists ESA should give up

No. But they should learn their lesson and try to run instead of plodding along at a glacial pace.

Oh but wait, they're govt funded with no success incentives other than some sort of vague sense of pride for a job well done.

My money is on they're not going to come out ahead in the race.

ESA and Ariane Group are two very different things. Ariane Group's main investor is the French state (61%). The French state wants a high-powered solid rocket booster for its ICBMs, and a sovereign and reliable means of launching large intelligence satellites. It couldn't care less about reusability. ESA is the equivalent of NASA and has no commercial activity, but subsidizes part of the Ariane program. Ariane group would rather be like a state own Lockheed Martin Space. Private investors interested in profitability and civil activities are in the minority at Ariane Group

There is no race between ESA, NASA and Roscomos. The Russians and the French are not going to abandon their rockets and entrust their nuclear deterrent and early warning system to SpaceX.

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> Ariane Group's main investor is the French state (61%)

Isn't Ariane Group jointly owned by Airbus and Safran? Which are both publicly traded companies and France only has a ~10% stake in both?

> “The Russians and the French are not going to abandon their rockets and entrust their nuclear deterrent and early warning system to SpaceX.”

The United States is certainly happy to (launch military payloads with SpaceX). Having access to far more launch capacity, far more cheaply, is surely a significant strategic advantage.

Edit: Added text in parentheses for clarity.

A huge strategic weakness is depending on a foreign country (perhaps even worse - one moody individual) for your launches.
SpaceX is a 100% American company. Moody individual notwithstanding, they are no less American than Boeing or ULA or anyone else.
> SpaceX is a 100% American company.

It's a huge fucking problem if you're not American. If you don't want to be subject to American law. If you don't want your technology inspected or tampered with by Americans. If you don't want the transaction to be in dollars (extra-territoriality of US law on all dollar transactions). If you don't want to deal with the problem of American citizens and companies subject to FISA, who could face severe repercussions in the US if they don't spy or facilitate spying on their non-American clients.

In practice, those who seek launches on commercial markets don't mind all those America-related complications much.

The US isn't really interested in the secrets of some Malaysian or Brazilian TV satellite.

> The US isn't really interested in the secrets of some Malaysian or Brazilian TV satellite.

Once again, compliance with US regulations, including export control, dual-use goods and tax regulations, can be weaponized, and has been in the past.

Maybe the TV satellite manufacturer has also supplied a weather satellite to Brazil that contains technologies covered by export control, bingo. Your satellite and your assets in the USA are frozen until the manufacturer provide all the information needed to decide whether or not it was a spy satellite.

The godamn Mars rover is covered by 14 export control technologies. https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/pdfs/1008-satell...

It's a minefield and it was designed to be one. I know of several non-defense companies whose first question on the phone is "are you a US person as defined by FATCA and FISA ?".

They don't until they compete with some big US company which has direct contacts into government. Then it suddenly matter.
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This goes both ways. While the US is certainly open to having scientific payloads launched by non-US launch providers (e.g, JWT) it’s strictly not launching military payloads from non-US spaceport or from non-US vehicles.

Given this stance, why should other NATO partners fold their own programs? The situation would entirely different if SpaceX was 20% German owned and the US would allow Ariane to compete for military payloads.

As an aside, both ESA and the German Armed Forces habe used SpaceX in the past and ESA, EUMETSAT, and the UK Armed Forces have planned launches with SpaceX. There is far from a dogmatic perspective in Europe to only use Ariane for launches.

The EU should absolutely have their own launch vehicle, that's undoubtedly a good thing.

What I was getting at is, if Europeans resent the US so much then why the sincere hell should we (Americans) defend them?

I would much rather see our servicemen protect actual friends rather than "allies" who sneer at us.

Because the USA needs NATO and other shit to have soft power and keep its hegemony.

Shit like what you said truly makes me wonder about the state of education in the USA when you don't understand a basic geopolitical principle your country has enacted for 80+ years, with massive benefits.

Unhappy marriages are unstable, even if they make economic sense.

Drag too much resentment into a relationship and people may do the irrational thing.

I was witness to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Economically, it didn't make sense to do that. But the Slovaks really resented Czech paternalism and wanted to go their own way.

Europe needs the US more than the US needs Europe as far as NATO is concerned, the defence spending disparities speak for themselves.

I sincerely question the logic behind our servicemen putting their lives on the line for someone resenting America this bad.

> Europe needs the US more than the US needs Europe as far as NATO is concerned, the defence spending disparities speak for themselves.

As far as the USA hegemony is concerned, NATO is an instrumental piece of soft and hard power.

You are parroting Trump's arguments about defence spending as if the US spending is only concerning NATO, the US spend a lot in defence because it's been your bread and butter to maintain a global reach as a superpower, the moment you lose this you'll see America's influence diminish, if that's what you wish please go ahead and pull out but so far it's been very beneficial to you in the USA to be the de facto global enforcer during Pax Americana.

> I sincerely question the logic behind our servicemen putting their lives on the line for someone resenting America this bad.

Geopolitics are not based on feelings, it's based on advantages and trade-offs, your feelings don't matter for this.

Coming from a person that once said in a comment "love is a mental illness" you seem to be quite the non-rational actor, with knee-jerk reactions when your feelings are hurt. Try to comprehend that the life as you know as an American is dependent on keeping your dollar as the most powerful currency, which demands being backed by the most powerful military, with the most trading routes possible, and with trade as stable as possible around the globe.

NATO is just a piece of the puzzle, it's not about what the others allies feel about you.

You are also forgetting 4 years of Trump with a possible re-election of this piece of shit, there are reasons for allies to be resenting America, it's becoming unstable and less trustworthy.

>You are parroting Trump's arguments about defence spending as if the US spending is only concerning NATO, the US spend a lot in defence because it's been your bread and butter to maintain a global reach as a superpower, the moment you lose this you'll see America's influence diminish, if that's what you wish please go ahead and pull out but so far it's been very beneficial to you in the USA to be the de facto global enforcer during Pax Americana.

American influence and Pax Americana is on its way out this century one way or another, including the fact it's not even just Trump who is pushing for it. Remember Obama declared America is no longer the world police.

Our insane defence budget is a common point of criticism by other countries including so-called "allies", and yet y'all bitch very loudly if we so much as suggest acting on them (eg: leave NATO). Get your act together and at least pretend you want us around, otherwise I repeat my sentiment that I doubt the logic of things like NATO.

>Geopolitics are not based on feelings, it's based on advantages and trade-offs, your feelings don't matter for this.

America is a democracy, so ultimately our everything is based on the feelings of the people who vote. I for one do not want to see servicemen get stationed at and fight for countries who resent us, end of.

Also see inglor_cz's comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40927190

>You are also forgetting 4 years of Trump with a possible re-election of this piece of shit,

Given the choices presented, I am in fact voting for Trump. Problem?

>there are reasons for allies to be resenting America, it's becoming unstable and less trustworthy.

Then, once again, stop complaining when or if we act upon your claims because we're tired of the bullshit.

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> Given the choices presented, I am in fact voting for Trump. Problem?

I question your judgment but given other comments I read on HN coming from your username it's actually not that surprising you are taking such an immensely stupid decision.

Good luck, you are just a sad unloved human being with strongly emotional opinions, nothing really I can discuss with to land on some common ground.

>I question your judgment but given other comments I read on HN coming from your username it's actually not that surprising you are taking such an immensely stupid decision.

Look: I can pick between a senile elder who can't speak straight under pressure, or someone who ostensibly acts for improving the country (MAGA) even though I don't agree with everything about him.

The Democrats can pick someone else for their candidate and if he's a good one I might vote for him. Doesn't look like that will be the case though.

This is also putting aside the long standing trend of the Left moving further and further left that I, as a center-conservative, am left with choosing the Right all the time every time as the closer of two options. Not entirely my problem the political landscape is this way.

>Good luck, you are just a sad unloved human being

I doubt you know enough about me to make such a bold statement.

>with strongly emotional opinions

Yup. I'm a tired, jaded geezer in his mid 30s now with no more damns left to give, I'm about fed up with dealing with the ramblings of both youngster know-nothings and know-it-all pundits/"experts"/intellectuals. Screw all of you, I'll just go and quietly(loudly?) enjoy life while y'all whine yourselves to death for no good reason.

> Look: I can pick between a senile elder who can't speak straight under pressure, or someone who ostensibly acts for improving the country (MAGA) even though I don't agree with everything about him.

> The Democrats can pick someone else for their candidate and if he's a good one I might vote for him. Doesn't look like that will be the case though.

How is trying to overthrow a democracy an improvement for your country? This alone should have completely barred Trump from public life, if not legally at least morally. Instead we from the outside see people like you, defending and voting for a person who is ostensibly and almost transparently against what are your supposed core values. You had 4 years of clear facts on how Trump does not care a single bit about your country if he is not gaining something out of it. You got 4 years of a botched response to a pandemic, packing your Supreme Court with the likes of Clarence Thomas, openly corrupt people (Jared Kusher) in higher echelons of government. To top it off you are voting for someone who stole secret documents on their way out of the highest position in your government.

It's frankly absurd that your judgment is so flawed. Not that Biden is good with his senile mind but at least he is not working against your democracy.

On top of that you have access to "Project 2025" clearly on the internet, you can read exactly what's the plan for a next Trump government and you are still siding on that.

> This is also putting aside the long standing trend of the Left moving further and further left that I, as a center-conservative, am left with choosing the Right all the time every time as the closer of two options. Not entirely my problem the political landscape is this way.

There's no "Left" in the USA, the Democrats are not leftists, they might try to appease more with some social policies but they are very clearly not "Left", if you are a center-conservative but will vote for Trump you are not center anything, you are supporting a brazen antagoniser of democracy, I don't believe that's a centrist position at all, you've been consumed into the Overton window and has a very clear misguided belief. You are falling to magical thinking that Trump will somehow not act worse than on his 1st presidency.

> I doubt you know enough about me to make such a bold statement.

I took note of a past comment from you this week about love being a mental illness, I didn't have to check your history for that because the sadness of that comment got stuck in my mind.

> Yup. I'm a tired, jaded geezer in his mid 30s now with no more damns left to give, I'm about fed up with dealing with the ramblings of both youngster know-nothings and know-it-all pundits/"experts"/intellectuals. Screw all of you, I'll just go and quietly(loudly?) enjoy life while y'all whine yourselves to death for no good reason.

Mid-30s is definitely not a "geezer", I'm well into my mid-30s and as jaded as I got by many aspect of life I'm glad to have accumulated enough wisdom to avoid the worst pitfalls of being an petulant cynical man-child, while also knowing that I'm not wise enough in many other aspects, it's probably part of it.

Your rejection of experts, or intellectualism is another very sad aspect, someone who was born and grew up in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth didn't seem to have got a good enough education to understand their own limits on knowledge, and be able to defer opinions to those who might have acquired it while having a good enough grasp to apply critical thinking. You are stuck in an infantile black-and-white worldview, and instead of trying to improve you've decided it's better to be tired and reject everything.

I understand the pull of ignorance, it does make one happier, it's the lazy way of living. It also makes one stupider.

> I'll just go and quietly(loudly?) enjoy life while y'all whine yourselves to death for no good reason.

You are part of a society, built upon people who cared about improving it over many generations, if taking part on that is no good reason for you, please just don't vote.

It's more odious to me someone choosing to be ignorant after being given all opportunities to not be than someone being ignorant by the lack of them. You are the former case which is absolutely sad.

> On top of that you have access to "Project 2025" clearly on the internet, you can read exactly what's the plan for a next Trump government and you are still siding on that.

That's just a wishlist by a coalition of conservative thinktanks. Trump didn't personally write it, and when he claims he hasn't even read it, I believe him–why would he want to read 922 pages of thinktank verbiage? [0] Obama probably would (as a former constitutional law professor I'm sure he can demolish a thousand pages of blather for breakfast), I doubt Trump's attention span is long enough

If Trump wins in November, they'll spoon feed him this document in bite-sized chunks. And he might actually agree to implement some of it. But I'm sure other bits he'll either reject, or only agree to in some watered-down form. Because he doesn't personally agree with it. Or because he worries about negative political blowback (e.g. the 2026 mid-terms). Or because competing lobbyists/advisors/etc are urging him to do something else instead.

And I reckon if you went looking, you'd find instances of progressive groups publishing "wishlists" or "advice" for potential future Democratic administrations too. No doubt Biden/Obama/Clinton did some of their asks, and failed or refused to do others – just like what's going to happen here, assuming Trump wins (which right now looks more likely than not, but it isn't impossible the Democrats might recover, especially if they swap Biden for someone else)

[0] https://static.project2025.org/2025_MandateForLeadership_FUL...

> If Trump wins in November, they'll spoon feed him this document in bite-sized chunks. And he might actually agree to implement some of it. But I'm sure other bits he'll either reject, or only agree to in some watered-down form.

And isn't this already scary enough to reject a Trump presidency? That's what I mean about the Overton window shifting, when some parts of that tome are acceptable as public policy given the foundation of the whole document... It shouldn't be acceptable that any of it would be considered as policy, even less by a stupid ignorant like Trump who won't even read it, much less have any semblance of knowledge for the consequences of applying those policies.

The guy openly states his ignorance and stupidity, and his voters accept that ignorance as a good trait, it's absolutely unfathomable.

> And isn't this already scary enough to reject a Trump presidency?

I'm an outside observer sitting on the other side of the planet looking in. So I'm not personally accepting or rejecting anything.

But I note Trump said a lot of rather frightening stuff in his 2016 campaign–a fair chunk of which he rather quickly walked back on once he walked into the White House. And I'm pretty sure the same thing is going to happen this time around. He sold voters this massive wall on the southern border, he only ever built bits of it – and the random border fencing improvements he did do aren't fundamentally different from what his predecessor or successor have done. He promised a "Muslim ban" – which if he'd actually done it would have been a rather horrific policy – but it morphed into restrictions on citizens from certain countries, and major Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia were off the list, while North Korea (where people debate to what extent Islam even exists, outside of embassy staff and expats) was on it. He was never going to ban his Saudi pals, and I've even heard they knew that all along.

In fact, he's already walking back on some stuff and he hasn't even won yet – e.g. earlier this year he talked very loudly about ending aid to Ukraine, and then suddenly he switched gears and stayed quiet while Congressional Republicans passed a Ukraine aid bill. [0]

Nobody knows what Trump is going to do – including Trump himself – but he's unlikely to actually meet the demands of the most rabid members of the GOP base. He just wants them to think he will. And when he eventually betrays them, they just have to shut up and take it - they might whine a bit, but will anyone be listening? What other choice do they have? [1]

And I expect some Americans who are going to vote for Trump, are viewing it as a gamble – he sounded scary in 2016, yet (at least for them personally) he wasn't actually that bad, so vote for him with the hope the same thing happens this time around. And you'll be warning "this time around is different". And maybe you are right and they'll lose big. Then again, maybe they are right, and they won't. Nobody really knows what the future holds.

[0] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/was-the-ukraine-aid-...

[1] https://www.politico.com/news/2024/07/08/trump-platform-gop-...

But isn't that just as disqualifying?

If you vote for a normal politician, they have a platform, and that platform is a declaration of intent. (At least to some degree - I know, politicians lie for votes.)

With Trump, he lies so much and so casually and so blatantly, you have no idea what his policies will be. None. There is zero correlation with what he says.

That's not something I'm willing to sign up for. I want at least some idea of what his policies will actually be.

> With Trump, he lies so much and so casually and so blatantly, you have no idea what his policies will be. None. There is zero correlation with what he says.

I think we can have some idea. For example, it is clear that Trump regrets somewhat the overturning of Roe v Wade. He never really cared about the abortion issue – he was just pandering to GOP religious conservatives with his Supreme Court nominations. And then when he saw how many ordinary American women were angry over Dobbs, he began to feel he'd gone too far to the right on the abortion issue. So, a second Trump administration is likely going to be harsher on abortion than the Biden administration is, but still going to resist implementing most of the more extreme demands anti-abortion conservatives will present.

For many other issues: if you study what he did in his first term, the political dynamics involved, leaks of his private conversations (he's more honest in private than in front of a stadium) – you can get a sense of what he's likely to do or not do. Of course, nobody knows for sure. But I feel like, on many issues, you can work out what is more likely than not to happen; if you placed enough bets you'd probably come out ahead overall.

And to be honest, does anyone really know what Biden is going to do? In the unlikely event he stays on the ticket and somehow wins against the odds in November, is he actually going to last 4 years? Or is he going to resign or die in office? And if you get President Harris instead, does anyone really know what she is going to do? She just seems like "generic Democrat" at the moment. She'll do whatever generic Democrat will do; she'll mostly do what Biden has done, but she'll almost certainly do some things a bit different, and nobody knows what or how.

> That's not something I'm willing to sign up for. I want at least some idea of what his policies will actually be.

If you aren't in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, it likely really doesn't matter what you are or aren't willing to sign up for.

Oh boy, where shall I even begin. From the top, I guess.

>How is trying to overthrow a democracy an improvement for your country?

Largely a farce narrative, both from the outset and slowly but surely as the courts work their way through all the quagmire.

>Instead we from the outside see people like you, defending and voting for a person who is ostensibly and almost transparently against what are your supposed core values.

>You had 4 years of clear facts on how Trump does not care a single bit about your country if he is not gaining something out of it.

I saw 4 years of North Korea not launching a single missile and even some diplomacy with them, our country not starting any new wars (a god damn miracle), our southern border actually getting secured (relatively speaking), a surging economy pre-covid, FAA getting told to pound sand with their Boeing relationship, Boeing told to GTFO with Air Force One 2 unless they slashed the price (which they did), a lean State Department, and more.

Do I want more? Hell yeah. Wasn't perfect, but what administration ever was?

>You got 4 years of a botched response to a pandemic,

Pretty much every country botched it to varying degrees.

I personally think America was relatively better off because our courts had the guts to rule that long-term abuse of executive emergency powers and other transgressions on Constitutional rights and liberties are not warranted by a pandemic.

>packing your Supreme Court with the likes of Clarence Thomas,

...Do you even know when Justice Thomas was appointed and who nominated him? Appointed in 1991, nominated by George Bush Sr..

That aside, I appreciate having Supreme Court justices who judge based upon the word of the law rather than emotional diatribe like seen from Justice Sotomayor.

>openly corrupt people (Jared Kusher) in higher echelons of government.

Name me one President who didn't have corruption in his cabinet.

>To top it off you are voting for someone who stole secret documents on their way out of the highest position in your government.

So did Biden.

>On top of that you have access to "Project 2025" clearly on the internet, you can read exactly what's the plan for a next Trump government and you are still siding on that.

Heard about it, couldn't care less since it's all just political marketing like similar stuff I've seen in previous elections numerous times.

>There's no "Left" in the USA, the Democrats are not leftists, they might try to appease more with some social policies but they are very clearly not "Left",

Your European political compass is worthless in America, I would suggest re-calibrating that if you want to discuss American politics usefully. Just like my American political compass would be useless when discussing European politics and need re-calibrating.

>if you are a center-conservative but will vote for Trump you are not center anything,

Like I said, I have a choice between the Left (who might also be senile if things don't change) or the Right; and with the Left moving further left every year I am, for better or worse, left to relate more closely to the Right so they get my vote.

>you are supporting a brazen antagoniser of democracy, I don't believe that's a centrist position at all, you've been consumed into the Overton window and has a very clear misguided belief.

The Overton Window left me on account of moving lefter and lefter, as I keep repeating at least twice now.

>I took note of a past comment from you this week about love being a mental illness, I didn't have to check your history for that because the sadness of that comment got stuck in my mind.

So you honestly think you can make a statement about someone off of just one comment? Stunning.

I call romantic love a mental illness because it compels you to do things that defy logic and common sense, especially when seen in hindsight. That's the brain not working right, that's an illness of the mind, a mental illness.

If you think that's sad, more power to you. I'm a happy man.

>Mid-30s is definitely not a "geezer",

YMMV, but I'm feeling the rapid onset of physical aging already to say nothing of mental exhaustion. I'm nowhere as energetic as I was in my 20s.

>Your rejection of experts, or intellectualism is another very sad aspect,

If there's anything the past 8 years have taught me, it's that most "experts" spew bullshit and most examples of intellectualism aren't all that intelligent. I'm very aware of the limits of my own knowledge and understanding, and it is precisely because of that I reject peddlers of false knowledge and information who will only waste my precious time.

In case I'm not clear: There are experts and intellectuals worth listening to, I am saying most claimed examples actually are not.

>You are part of a society, built upon people who cared about improving it over many generations, if taking part on that is no good reason for you, please just don't vote.

I take part in society plentifully, though probably not in ways you want me to. That's fine, you mind your business and I will mine.

If you guys keep on resenting America (the context for this whole sub-thread), sooner or later we really will get tired of the whining and just go have beer somewhere else.

It wouldn't be the first time America wanted nothing to do with Europe either, so be aware it's more likely than you think even without all the prodding. We will always bend over backwards to help out the United Kingdom (our mom!), but the rest of Europe? Stop pressing your luck.

> >How is trying to overthrow a democracy an improvement for your country?

> Largely a farce narrative, both from the outset and slowly but surely as the courts work their way through all the quagmire.

I simply cannot continue a conversation when you can't adhere to a basic reality where a sitting president attempted to overthrow your democracy, playing it down as a "farce narrative" while a mob inflamed by the person you want to vote in invaded the Capitol. It's too absurd you are trying to push this under the rug.

> Your European political compass is worthless in America, I would suggest re-calibrating that if you want to discuss American politics usefully. Just like my American political compass would be useless when discussing European politics and need re-calibrating.

I'm originally Brazilian...

> ...Do you even know when Justice Thomas was appointed and who nominated him? Appointed in 1991, nominated by George Bush Sr..

> That aside, I appreciate having Supreme Court justices who judge based upon the word of the law rather than emotional diatribe like seen from Justice Sotomayor.

You prefer a corrupt judge in the Supreme Court? Taking lavish bribes from friends? That's absolutely absurd, I really can't comprehend this level of acceptance, just tells me clearly how degenerate has politics become in the USA if people participating in this forum who are very well versed in getting information from any source they might want to accept this.

> Name me one President who didn't have corruption in his cabinet.

> So did Biden.

Your whole argument over egregious acts committed under the Trump administration, like a blatant bribe of US$ 2bi for Kushner is based on "who cares? Everyone else also does it" without even considering there are varying levels of corruption, again you are in an infantile black-and-white worldview and I don't think we can meet anywhere when your reality simply doesn't match mine.

I will repeat: you are being an infantile reactionary, the Overton window has not shifted to the Left, when white supremacist discourse is not publicly shocking anymore that is not a leftist shift, you simply do not want or cannot comprehend that. When calling people "vermins", even if illegally immigrating to a country, is normalised you are not on a Left-shift of the Overton window.

> It wouldn't be the first time America wanted nothing to do with Europe either, so be aware it's more likely than you think even without all the prodding. We will always bend over backwards to help out the United Kingdom (our mom!), but the rest of Europe? Stop pressing your luck.

Once again, an infantile opinion "love me, or else..." without acknowledging the complexities of relationships between nations where friction is expected, disagreement is expected, and the mutual benefits of said relationships should prevail over infantile "I feel hurt" responses.

Your stupidly ignorant and reactionary point of view will cause harm, you are choosing to be ignorant about it. Not too unexpected from an American which centers the whole world in their own ego and feelings but still disappointing.

Good luck with the mess you are about to create, unfortunately your ignorance by choice will hurt others but it's not like you seem to care about others anyway.

> You prefer a corrupt judge in the Supreme Court? Taking lavish bribes from friends?

He accepted expensive non-monetary gifts from friends, and failed to disclose them. I agree it isn't a good look, but I don't think it is as bad as you are painting it.

Can anyone point to a case in which (1) Thomas voted in an unexpected way (given his track record) and (2) in a way which directly benefited any of these friends?

I don't think anyone can. I think, if it was as blatant as "I know your ultra-conservative ideology tells you to vote one way on this case, but here's a suitcase containing a million dollars for you to side with the liberals instead" – he'd be gone very quickly, even the GOP would be voting for articles of impeachment. But it wasn't anything like that.

Rich friends were gifting him expensive vacations, but he'd vote the way they wanted even without that. And he wasn't hearing any cases to which those friends were parties. At most, he was reading amicus briefs signed by conservative lobby groups for whom one of these generous rich friends was a board member. But, given how conservative he is, it is very likely he would have ruled the way they wanted even if his benefactor was not on their board. The real purpose of those briefs is not to convince Thomas which way to vote (everybody already knows), it is to give him ideas for justifications, and to try to convince some of the more moderate conservatives (especially Roberts) which way to vote.

And I can understand how federal bureaucrats, who would lose their job (or even go to prison) for a lot less, must feel upset at the double standard. But there have always been different standards for judges, and especially for those at the top of the judicial ladder. And I don't think the US is unique in that regard, many other countries it is the same thing.

> When calling people "vermins", even if illegally immigrating to a country, is normalised you are not on a Left-shift of the Overton window.

Australia has, in many ways, a harsher immigration policy than the US had, even under Trump. Yes, our politicians are much more careful and measured in their language. But Australia has bipartisan support for harsh immigration enforcement measurements which Republicans could only dream of implementing in the US. If we focus on style, Trump may sound like someone from the far far far right; if we focus on substance, in practice his administration was (in some ways at least) to the left of Australia's current (on paper socialist) government.

>I simply cannot continue a conversation when you can't adhere to a basic reality where a sitting president attempted to overthrow your democracy, playing it down as a "farce narrative" while a mob inflamed by the person you want to vote in invaded the Capitol. It's too absurd you are trying to push this under the rug.

"Invading" Congress is artistic exaggeration, to say the least. The people who did go in by and large were peaceful. An actual invasion would be more akin to what we saw in Brazil's Congress in 2023 where significant damage was caused.

The after-the-fact repainting of history is among many reasons why I don't bother with "experts" and the like anymore.

>I'm originally Brazilian...

Doesn't change my point that discussing American politics requires an appropriate compass. The Democrats are the Left in the Left/Center/Right spectrum in America.

>You prefer a corrupt judge in the Supreme Court? Taking lavish bribes from friends? That's absolutely absurd, I really can't comprehend this level of acceptance,

You're going to have to cite some sources, but regardless I by far prefer Justices and judges who rule objectively rather than emotionally. Any judge who rules by emotion isn't doing their job properly; the ink in which laws are written do actually mean something.

>Your whole argument over egregious acts committed under the Trump administration ... is based on "who cares? Everyone else also does it"

Not so much "who cares?" as "Why are we singling out the Trump Administration?". I find it hard to believe corruption is wrong because it's Trump. Call every POTUS with corruption to account, otherwise I don't have time for such political bullshitting.

>I will repeat: you are being an infantile reactionary, the Overton window has not shifted to the Left, when white supremacist discourse is not publicly shocking anymore that is not a leftist shift,

I'm a 2nd generation Japanese-American, aka an Asian, aka a minority. If white supremacy was a real thing I would definitely know about it, but guess what? I see no such thing. If anything, white folks are by far among the most honorable and generous people I've come across in life.

Regardless, the narrative is that white people are evil and must be brought down to end white supremacy. Sincerely screw that racist notion, the Overton Window keeps on moving further left and I am left to vote for who I relate closer to which is the Right.

Also, don't you dare call me a person of color, or worse POC or BIPOC, like the Left often does. I'm an American and I have a heritage, not some stupid identification label.

>When calling people "vermins", even if illegally immigrating to a country, is normalised you are not on a Left-shift of the Overton window.

Illegal aliens are trying to get (and getting) the things that legal immigrants work their asses off over a span of years to get. What the hell is up with that? Anyone is welcome to come to this country, but they should do so legally through our front door like everyone else.

Incidentally, the people most hostile to illegal aliens are 1st generation legal immigrants. If you need to ask why that is the case, you really don't understand the situation.

>Once again, an infantile opinion "love me, or else..." without acknowledging the complexities of relationships between nations where friction is expected, disagreement is expected, and the mutual benefits of said relationships should prevail over infantile "I feel hurt" responses.

Relationships require a certain level of mutual respect and compromise. If we keep hearing the kind of sheer resentment as the kind I originally replied to, sooner or later we will go have our beer somewhere else.

You cannot seriously expect America to stick around forever despite incessant arguments that our defence budget is insane, that the US Dollar sucks, that our space launch vehicles are hostile, and so on. Every person, or in this case country, has their camel-back-breaking point.

>Good luck with the mess you are about to create

Likewise.

>it's not like you seem to care about others anyway.

We do care, but it's damn hard to care and keep caring about someone who does nothing but complain about us.

I don't get what your point is. I didn't question if it's an American company or not.

Edit: ok, got it now. This is about a European rocket serving European strategic needs, why would I be talking about USA?

Are the US sending military payloads with non-US rockets?
That is the problem, right?

EU countries, not having a reusable rocket at their disposal, will have to pay through the nose for every launch, discarding the entire expensive rocket in the process.

Of course, that will limit their ability to launch satellites into space: the cost of discarding a rocket is high (let's not even start about fairing dimensions and subsequent limits on payload size). Wrecking a sophisticated machine after each use is uneconomical.

Meanwhile, the US is galloping towards much cheaper launchers. This means that by 2030 or so, they will be able to put orders of magnitude more tonnage onto orbit.

China noticed - and it is trying their darndest to close the gap.

So EU having Arianne 6 is actually a good thing.
It is better than not having it. In the same sense that it is better having a steam-powered railway than no railway capacity at all.

But spending on development of new steam engines when the competition already has electric ones is pretty backward.

Yes: one of the US national security launch vehicles, Atlas V, uses imported Russian main engines. US defense access to space was dependent on Russia for much of the 21st century (after the retirement of the Titan rockets).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-180

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Space_Launch...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30542226 ("Russia halts deliveries of rocket engines to the U.S. (reuters.com)")

(It's not a national security payload, but the Starliner ISS astronauts also went up on this Russian engine).

The US is sending military payloads with private, low-cost commercial launch provider SpaceX.

The success of this model hasn’t gone unnoticed by China, who are funding several private rocket companies (such as Space Pioneer) to develop reusable launch platforms in competition with the state-owned contractor CASC. They are making rapid progress!

The US is sending their military payloads with a US company they have invested in, and most likely have special, undisclosed deals with.

It is not just "a commercial launch provider". I don't expect the US to launch their military payloads with Chinese rockets, private or not, in the same way I don't expect China to use SpaceX for their own military payloads. Same thing for the EU, they prefer to send their military payloads with their own rockets, that is Ariane.

Ariane is private too, it is also a commercial launch provider. It is heavily subsidized by the EU member states and not as competitive as SpaceX, but from a national security perspective, the situation is similar.

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The USA has been sending military payloads with private vendors since 1970s. In some cases blocking contractually those vendors from providing civilian launch capability, even.

SpaceX is absolutely nothing new in the process, other than having been funded by explicit military program to prop up new space launch vendors.

Why is it a race instead of being of public and international importance to have an alternative to a for profit company?
> Why is it a race instead of being of public and international importance to have an alternative to a for profit company?

It’s not a meaningful alternative. The comparison to a Yugo is apt: it’s more expensive and less capable, with its sole advantage being it’s made in Europe and so will get European launches. But anyone launching on it is structurally disadvantaged against a competitor (or peer) who launches on SpaceX.

Ticket price doesn't tell the whole story, if those euros are staying in Europe instead of leaving the union and funding someone else's space program.
it's about maintaining political options - what happens when your peer denies your launches on their platform; what prevents ESA from launching 90% of their payloads on SpaceX for reduced cost, while maintaining alive a credible option ?
> what happens when your peer denies your launches on their platform

Strongly agree—Europe needs an indigenous launch option. Ariane 6 is not it, and I’m sceptical ArianeSpace can ever deliver it.

What do you mean, can deliver it? This article is specifically about the maiden flight of Ariane 6, which was successful. It's already delivered.
> can deliver it? This article is specifically about the maiden flight of Ariane 6, which was successful. It's already delivered.

It's not commercially viable. That means it has no room to organically drive economies of scale and thus learning curves, which has downstream effects on evertyhing from recruiting to supplier negotiations. Europe has a launch vehicile. It does not have a platform. Virtually everything in Ariane 6 will have to be thrown out to be relevant in a modern, reusable design.

Put another way, SLS didn't prepare Boeing and Lockheed Martin one iota for the modern launch industry. If anything, it drove ambitious people away from them.

There are no economies of scale required. This is not a commercial venture, and it's not required to be commercially viable. This is a strategic and political program, and as a jobs program it is wonderfully executed - the more to throw away, the more jobs will be required for the next iteration.
> is a strategic and political program, and as a jobs program

Jobs, yes, strategic, no. Being able to put ten birds up in a year means an adversary can blind your space capabilities, if we’re taking the argument to absurd ends.

We Americans would be defensive about ULA, probably, if it weren’t for SpaceX. The problem is the EU has no plan B. If SpaceX cuts them off, Ariana or not, they’re crippled as a spacefaring enterprise.

You're still thinking about capitalisation and the scalability of space. EU doesn't think that's a viable expansion route - already expressed my view that EU thinks 10 launches a year is more then enough to cover all bases.
> what prevents ESA from launching 90% of their payloads on SpaceX for reduced cost

You only have to look at what happened with Starlink and Ukraine.

Last thing EU wants is to put their vital strategic interests in the hands of Elon Musk and his erratic whims.

Especially given they are planning to fine X 6% of their revenue which may end up bankrupting the company given its perilous financial state.

Well, that seems to have been a one-off episode. Since then modern versions of at least maritime drones & possible bigger aerial drones in Ukraine are almost certainly Starlink guided, possibly via the military version of it called Starshield.
Because extra money spent could be better invested elsewhere. Eventually, the high cost will harm the general expertise and readiness.
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> My money is on they're not going to come out ahead in the race.

What race ? Having your own launcher is already a win in a fast changing world

What race? The race to the price bottom and who can get us to the Kessler syndrom first?
> Kessler syndrom

Is this a big risk in the low, high drag orbits that the vast majority of SpX launches target?

I would rather work for the government than working to make someone so rich even more rich. To each their own.
That is fine. Government should still be reasonably efficient. Not as efficient as possible by any means possible, with the ethical problems megacorporations have. But reasonably efficient.

So it's worth keeping an eye on things and making comparisons. I at least, don't say any dollar more than SpaceX spent by Ariane is bad. But if they spend multiple billions more... maybe we could build some trains or something for that money.

> they're not going to come out ahead in the race

What race ? And if there is even one who cares ?

If EU pays 10x or 100x more to launch satellites the world isn't going to change all that much.

> If EU pays 10x or 100x more to launch satellites the world isn't going to change all that much.

That may be true for a few military satellites. But ESA is talking about putting up a Europoean mega-constellation. In that context, launch costs do really matter.

> In that context, launch costs do really matter.

Not really.

Strategically important projects rarely live or die based on costs.

Especially when they are a fraction of the total spend on the project.

> There was a lot of hubris in the project in the beginning and now it’s clear that they are years behind.

That may be true of other projects, but LEO communications satellite constellations have a history of going bankrupt. Cost is very relevant in this case.

> Especially when they are a fraction of the total spend on the project.

I guess 40-50% is technically a fraction.

Lol it is. More money means less money some place else. Europe is not as rich as it was 40 years ago. General competency will decrease due to lack of money.
“It’s not my money.”
> 6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design will be very similar: reusable, RP-1/LOX, Prometheus engine is similar reusable open cycle engine as Merlin with lots of 3D printed parts.

1. Ariane Next will use a Methalox first stage and a Hydrolox 2nd stage[1], not Kerolox (RP-1).

2. Given how long it took to get Ariane 6 to the launch pad, and its similarities to Ariane 5, 6-10 year is very optimistic.

---

1. From what I understand, this is due to political wrangling. Germany wanted to make the engines for the 2nd stage. IMO SpaceX's approach of using the same engine everywhere is superior.

Not just the engines - using different propellants between stages complicates ground infrastructure & reduces economy of scale + parts commonality.
The problem with this is, that at that point Europe will be most likely again behind not just Space X, with fully reusable Starship likely being operational but possibly even some Chinese Falcon 9 clones (once they get the hold-down clamps sorted out).

Sure, Ariane 6 is a stop gap and likely has some interesting tech that will be useful later on, but it was stupid not starting a full blown reusable rocket program at the same time, when it became evident how much of a dead end it is.

> but it was stupid not starting a full blown reusable rocket program at the same time, when it became evident how much of a dead end it is.

Redundancy in novel fields is not a waste, it creates opportunities to try subtly different approaches in various places, and in so doing creates new knowledge that can progress all similar projects in the future. At some point, if you dump the same amount of human resources into a single project vs separate projects, you end up with something approaching the same thing, but resources (dollars/people) aren't entirely fungible and having separated projects provides an opportunity for cultural dissimilarity and other human factors to create innovation that would otherwise be stifled in a larger funded project.

Personally, I am really happy to see how much investment from many different angles is happening around space.

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Falcon 9 made its first landing (during an orbital mission) Dec. 2015[1]. It was very successful after that.

The Ariane 6 program was selected Dec 2014[2].

Reusable vehicles are clearly the way to go but that was a little early to say Falcon 9 was going to be the success it is today.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_6

I think it would be, in the long term, more cost effective for ESA to contract two or three private European rocket start-ups, like RFA, to build such reusable launch vehicles. To create some competition in price and development speed. Arianespace (ArianeGroup) seems to be "old space" by now, similar to ULA or Boeing in the US.
> more cost effective for ESA to contract two or three private European rocket start-ups, like RFA, to build such reusable launch vehicles

That would trigger politically-impossible lay-offs in France.

Yeah, it seems impossible for ESA to act rationally in this regard when bound e.g. by French veto. The only opportunity would be for individual countries (like Germany) to fund such rockets alone, but that seems unlikely due to cost (and the fact that they already pay for ESA). Without substantial investment, companies like RFA don't have the means to create a larger rocket, due to heavy international competition.

Not even NASA could resist developing their SLS rocket, which realistically should have been replaced with funding private heavy lift rockets. And that is despite the fact that they are much less politically constrained than ESA.

The only opportunity would be for individual countries (like Germany) to fund such rockets alone, but that seems unlikely due to cost (and the fact that they already pay for ESA).

Germany does it in its national program. https://www.dlr.de/de/ar/themen-missionen/raumfahrttechnolog...

That's just for small launchers and the funding is only 25 million in total (to be divided by several companies) which is orders of magnitude lower than would be required for a partly reusable Ariane 6 replacement.
start small and start a competition. Then afterwards you get more and more competent companies.
> That would trigger politically-impossible lay-offs in France.

And yet, that seems like the model ESA is moving to. Not exactly - it's more NASA style letting companies bid on launches instead of directly funding rockets. But close enough.

I don't think ArianeGroup is in trouble in the near term.

But Avio - the makers of Vega - are very unhappy about that direction, since the current crop of Rocket startups more directly competes with them.

SpaceX wasn't the first American rocket startup, other ones failed. What makes you think European startups won't fail?
I suggested funding multiple ones.
China has multiple rocket startups now, they are not too successful.
Galactic energy has had 13/14 successful launches, how is that not successful?
Those are launches of small rocket flying on toxic hydrazine and capable of getting whopping 300 kg of payload into LEO. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Energy#Ceres-1

Ok? Aren’t you shifting goalposts now? Is rocket lab also not successful, because they only have 300 kg payload, too? And how does the toxicity of the fuel matter?
>Aren’t you shifting goalposts now?

No, but mentioning successful launches of a small disposable rocket in the context of conversation about replicating reusable Falcon-9 is shifting goalposts. Galactic energy, that you named, is only trying to develop its Pallas-1 rocket that resembles Falcon-9.

>how does the toxicity of the fuel matter

It's the technology of the previous century when the need to achieve strategic goals out-weighted a lot of safety concerns.

Yeah, I think this is the only way Europe is going to get a viable reusable rocket in the end. Arianespace is a dead end.
> 6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design will be very similar

…at which point it will be competing with Starship.

It will still be building that knowledge inside Europe. Rocketry in general is deemed to be strategic so it's OK for any country to invest money in that, keep scientists and engineers on the subject, keep the industries alive, etc. It's not only about access to space, it's also about defense.
> will still be building that knowledge inside Europe

Ariane 6 cannibalises Europe’s chance at being more than an also-ran in space:

“An Arianespace manager pushing his company as the only solution to Europe’s launch challenges isn’t that noteworthy. However, the fact [Arianespace’s CEO] urges the need for a ‘reusable heavy launcher’ is notable, considering his previous noncommittal remarks about rocket reusability. The certainty of his statement leaves no ambiguity–Ariane 6 just won’t be able to compete in the global market. It will take a (single and expensive) reusable heavy launcher (manufactured by Arianespace) and (funded by) a unified Europe to compete (with SpaceX).

While [Arianespace’s CEO’s] admission of reusability’s future in Europe is surprising, his constancy in his attempts to keep European space activities hostage to Arianespace is not. To be clear, he wants European taxpayers to fund reusability development and manufacturing only through Arianespace. He believes Europe can’t afford more than one reusable heavy launcher and that if Europe were to pay for a reusable rocket, then Arianespace must manufacture it.”

https://www.illdefined.space/arianespace-the-only-fish-in-th...

You're under the misconception that it makes sense for Europe to have a launch vehicle at all. The launches happen in French Guiana. The only reason why you would build it on the European mainland is as a jobs program for Europeans.

No commercial entity would come up with the idea of building a launch vehicle in Europe. Making a rocket reusable means that it would not leave French Guiana far behind. There would be less need for rockets from the European mainland.

> under the misconception that it makes sense for Europe to have a launch vehicle at all. The launches happen in French Guiana

Launch controlled by Europe. French Guiana is Europe, geopolitically speaking. SpaceX building rockets in Europe wouldn't give Brussels the strategic autonomy of an Ariane launched from below the equator.

While that attitude makes sense for ArianeSpace , I doubt they will be successful.
Yes, and the industrial base that we are discussing is the one that builds the M51.3 which is fundamental for Europe. Existence is worth a lot.
will it? or will engineering talent just move elsewhere after realizing their talents are wasted in bureaucratland?
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Is nationalism really so far in the past already
nationalism is dying with the older generations and importing new labour from abroad is not really the short term solution for that
What's strategic about it?

We give all of our data to US companies and that's ok (?), but for some reason we need to be able to launch our own rockets?

Unless Europe wants to build a moon base or new ISS, won't a Starship competitor be a bit overkill for most payloads?
> won't a Starship competitor be a bit overkill for most payloads?

No, for the same reason trucks aren’t overkill for horses in logistics. Unit costs, lead time, orbital flexibility: there isn’t a market for Ariane 6 left.

Even ArianeSpace’s CEO admits Ariane 6 is obsolete and that Europe needs “a reusable heavy launcher” [1].

[1] https://www.illdefined.space/arianespace-the-only-fish-in-th...

...well the Ariane 6 is already in the category of "heavy lift vehicle" at up to 22 tons payload. I'm wondering how much of a market there is in the end for a super-heavy lifter like Starship. But I guess we'll see soon.
> I'm wondering how much of a market there is in the end for a super-heavy lifter like Starship. But I guess we'll see soon.

The biggest market is probably internally for Starlink. But itself, that'll be quite a lot of launches. Especially if SpaceX ends up pursuing an enlarged constellation size.

For the same reason, it's almost certain that ArianeSpace won't get any launches in the 2nd Kuiper tranche - New Glenn should be more efficient and capable than either Ariane 6 or Vulcan. Even if it isn't up to the task operationally, Vulcan will probably receive the balance of launches.

You don't know that. Starship does not exist.
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a thing which can get into orbit and deploy objects exists
A thing which can nearly get into orbit. It never quite reached it (probably intentionally). But more importantly, the recent Starship tests ran with no payload whatsoever, and they definitely didn't deploy anything into orbit.
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It reached orbital velocity, just in a suborbital direction. Had they pointed it a different way it would have been in orbit.
I don't know what you mean by deploy objects, but even according to Musk himself, the current Starship version will not carry any payloads any time soon.
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It’s already deployed objects - tiles, paint etc.

The doors opened on IFT3. If it was life or death starship could put something into orbit right now. Obviously it’s not the best solution for that currently (compared to say an FH) - they want to get the reuse working, but that doesn’t negate the fact that starship has been to orbital height and speed (albeit on a suborbital trajectory)

> “The launch cost is almost 2x the cost of Falcon 9.”

This actually seems quite reasonable considering the Ariane 6 is a non-reusable, low-volume design.

> seems quite reasonable considering the Ariane 6 is a non-reusable, low-volume design

It’s after subsidies [1]. Actual costs are 4 to 6x Falcon 9, and that’s comparing actual costs today for Falcon 9 to projected costs in the future for Ariane 6.

[1] https://www.space.com/europe-ariane-6-rocket-debut-launch

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You do know that this article completely forgets to mention if SpaceX got any subsidies? From a quick google search, it seems that this is not the case and I have a feeling that Falcon 9 sticker price is in fact subsidied by the USA. So - why compare apples to apples, when you can compare apples to oranges.
It is not. The sticker price is not subsidized by the state. The state does buy a lot of launches as a consumer. These are often conflated.
> this is not the case and I have a feeling that Falcon 9 sticker price is in fact subsidied by the USA

They’re both state supported. But Falcon 9 is cash-flow positive on commercial launches where the only operational subsidies are launch complex access.

Falcon 9 is 'subsidized' by the USA in the way that businesses 'subsidize' development of new products and services through profit from selling products, getting investors and completing contracts at fixed cost to the customer. Ariane is subsidized in that their development expenses are fully paid for by government coffers, and additional money is provided yearly regardless of services rendered to make the sticker price for a launch seem lower.
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You're quite right, but for apples-to-apples you should compare to NASA rather than SpaceX. "Move fast and break things" is an attitide that only relatively new rocket builders can have.
> for apples-to-apples you should compare to NASA rather than SpaceX

ESA is analogous to NASA. ArianeSpace is Europe’s ULA. Europe doesn’t have a SpaceX; Ariane 6 is a Yugo in the modern launch market.

Rocket Factory Augsburg or Isar Aerospace might become the Space X of Europe. ;-)
By then, startship would have lowered cost even further.
Starship has a payload 10x-15x larger than the smaller Ariane 6 variant.

It seems like for the cost to be lower you would be wanting to fit as much as possible thus impacting how often it is being launched. So not sure if the two have the same requirements.

I suspect that you don't really need to fill all the seats of a reusable 737 before it's cheaper to fly than a single-use Cessna.
> seems like for the cost to be lower you would be wanting to fit as much as possible thus impacting how often it is being launched

Starlink alone will fill Starship’s most-ambitious deployment schedules for years. That gives plenty of piggyback capacity to swamp the market with.

Are the Europeans wworried that "between now and 2030s" the US will cut off their access to space?

I understand things can go wrong and it's good to have a backup plan in the long term... But that's not that many years out. You can go without access for a few years .. It seems like a tiny risk

The French mantra is strategic autonomy. We are allies with the USA, we are not vassals of the USA and we do not want to depend on anybody else to defend our own interests or our own agenda. This is why the French army has independent expeditionary and nuclear deterrent capabilities and why nearly all of our military kit is designed and produced either locally or in partnership with nearby European countries.

It's not that we don't trust the Americans per se (although opinions may differ on that topic), but we don't want to have to.

ArianeGroup also manufactures the M51 missile that goes inside our SSBNs and unlike the Brits we do not accept depending on Americans supplying us with the missiles for our nuclear deterrent.

It seems just a ton of money and R&D down the drain developing something already obsolete for some tiny and very theoretical advantage. It seems more sensible to lose a tiny bit of independence for a small window of time and instead use the money to develop an actual state of the art rocket.
De Gaulle would be rolling in his grave hearing this. The point is not about economic efficiency. The point is that we're not one embargo on foreign components or systems away from crippling our capabilities and surrendering our ability to act independently.

The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier almost got immobilized back in the early 2000s due to withholding of spare parts from the USA because they were pissed we called bullshit on their Iraq WMD claims. The USA routinely uses ITAR as a pressuring tactic to stop European weapon sales to foreign countries, which is why we're actively scrubbing every last ITAR component from all of our weapon systems.

Just because we're allies doesn't mean that the other party has or will have our best interests at heart. The Americans have proven to be quite temperamental and under-handed when our strategic objectives aren't aligned with theirs.

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It is absolutely not a "theoretical advantage". America is not an altruistic partner when it comes to strategic products.
Wish more NATO members had that attitude.
Simple solution - get a decent launcher instead & deploy your nukes in orbit. Problem solved! :)
>we are not vassals of the USA

Aren't you? In 2003 Russia, Germany and France were strongly against illegal American invasion of Iraq. The US invaded anyway, ruining the country. What have France and Germany done about that?

France among many nations called bullshit on the WMD claims, we threatened to veto the UN Security Council resolution authorizing a military intervention and we refused to get involved in that mess.

The fact that the US government decided to unilaterally invade Iraq anyway is not our responsibility to bear. What could France have done more, try and enact economic sanctions or wage war against the USA over this?

"What could France have done more"

Everything it is doing now towards Russia.

Giving weapons and ammo to Saddam Hussein?

Besides the logistical, economical and industrial challenge of supplying enough kit to even make a dent against the expeditionary forces of the USA, which were still doped sky-high on Cold War hand-me-downs, that sounds like a terrible idea.

Hussein's Iraq was not Zelensky's Ukraine and not just because of strategic reasons. The Gulf War happened because Hussein wasn't a friendly neighbor to Kuwait.

You are mixing up the Gulf War of 1990, which was in defense of Kuwait, with the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on false pretenses.

"Giving weapons and ammo to Saddam Hussein?"

Pentagon is giving weapons and ammo to Azov [0], Ukrainian neo-Nazi ultra-nationalists.

And giving weapons is not everything that France is doing now. Think about other measures too, like cutting off American banks from SWIFT, let them use their ACH.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Brigade

They did not participate?
That was very brave
Not very but look at the countries participating. Weaker or intertwined (UK)
"Weaker"

Poland, being Poland, was after Iraqi oil [0].

France kept doing business as usual with the US despite American illegal war.

[0] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3043330.stm

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Yeah, so ? Did you expect France to fight the US ?
France is a nuclear power. But you are right, a vassal can't fight his suzerain.
The US has been an unreliable partner since Bush Jr. became the president. Every 4 years, there is a real risk that things will go wrong.
It's more complicated than that. Even before W Bush, the United States didn't hesitate to twist the arm of its partners in economic matters.

France and the USA may be allies, but economic relations have been complicated for over 40 years. The USA has no hesitation in interfering with or sabotaging the French economy (aukus subs, alstom, airbus defense, galileo), claiming that its law is extraterritorial in order to condemn company directors, and all the drity tricks imaginable.

This is what led many European companies and gouv in the 90's and 00's to prefer partnerships with Chinese and Russsian companies.

Even the British, with their special relationship, have completely isolated their nuclear industry from all US companies for fear of being screwed and at the same time signed partnership with CGN in China.

That's what happens when your group of nations freeloads on a superpower for their defense.
> Are the Europeans wworried that "between now and 2030s" the US will cut off their access to space?

Ariane Group is first and foremost a defense company owned by the French state, Germany and several other European countries.

Ariane group designs and manufactures French ICBMs. This is a significant part of its business.

The French government wants a sovereign means of putting heavy military satellites into orbit (twice the weight of the Hubble telescope).

The French state will never let its intelligence, early warning and nuclear deterrent depend on the United States.

Looking at the geopolitical situation both next door and across the pond the answer is a yes.

Also keeping the expertise and the people is a critical factor.

Sometimes nation states might disagree on what should be done in certain circumstances. An example of this is 39 years ago on this day the French government blew up a civilian boat in New Zealand [0]. Crazy but true. Having independent capabilities is part of being a sovereign rather than vassal state.

0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior

Not really, but European countries launch military payloads and other strategic stuff like Galileo satellites and communication satellites.

All are friends with NATO, but that does not exclude spying and all kinds of shenanigans. US spies non-Five Eye countries mercilessly. They get caught sometimes. Like the systematic wiretapping trough Danish cables from 2012-2014.

>Are the Europeans wworried that "between now and 2030s" the US will cut off their access to space?

Both US presidential candidates are not mentally well. Who knows what they might do.

In the event of another Trump presidency (or a successor in spirit) getting cut off for military purposes is probably more like expected, and in a post-NATO world Russia might get a lot more aggressive towards western Europe. That's probably what is behind most such time horizons right now, but even in the mid to long term, rocket tech will remain highly strategic (e.g. for nuclear weapon delivery), and capabilities like that need to be built up well before any conflict escalates.
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If your dream is to restore Russia to its imperial greatness, there's an awful lot of EU countries that need to be gobbled up along the way, so France is quite likely to be willing to help a Russian-Estonia war even without NATO.

NATO is only a threat to Russia insofar as it poses an obstacle to Russia gobbling up its neighbors.

If.
NATO is purely defensive, it won't invade Russia. It only threatens Putin's empire rebuilding dreams. Without NATO he is free to rebuild and expand Russia's empire.
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The point is it was never going to launch an attack on that certain very large country to the East. All the rhetorical moaning and puffing of its current incredibly thin-skinned and backward-looking regime notwithstanding.
So why lie about NATO being "purely defensive"?
Beats me, it wasn't my post.

The main thing is that Russia needs to pull its troops out of all of Ukraine; return those 20,000 abducted kids; set and adhere to a timetable for paying full reparations; and re-affirm its commitment to respecting the inviolable sovereignty of all of its neighbors, permanently and irrevocably.

After that we can dissect past NATO transgressions, and fix all the poorly thought / ahistorical comments on HN.

Clearly that is not what Russia needs.
And Germany once thought it "needed" to regain its colonies, and France once thought its very survival would be threatened if it didn't hold onto Algeria, and so on.
The US once thought it needed to prevent Soviet nukes from appearing on Cuba, almost started WW3 over it and got what it needed.
That's what I mean by backward-looking. Putin is so obsessed with his perceived stature and "correcting" past humiliations that he's willing to create a completely fictional crisis and drive his country into a never-ending meatgrinder war just to prove some abstract geopolitical point.
Perhaps you don't know that the US in turn had to remove its nukes from Turkey and Italy.
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This just goes to show how incomparable the situation is with the Cuban missile crisis. The US has nothing to remove, because their nuclear weapons stand where they stood 40 years ago.
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> The launch cost is almost 2x the cost of Falcon 9.

I bet it will be a lot more than that.

Falcon’s costs are a fiction.

SpaceX benefits from massive taxpayer support and uses facilities built by the military and NASA.

It’s not a like for like comparison especially give SpaceX keeping its books private and giving no clear public indication of how reusable its rockets really are or their refurb cost.

Given Musks history of creative accounting quoting their PR numbers, the ones they pitch congress, as facts is naive in the extreme.

Having followed the launch industry for 30 years, I can safely tell you that this is the exact line that every competitor (save RocketLabs and the startups fueled by the SpaceX diaspora of engineers) says whenever they are trying to justify their legacy wasteful rockets. Even Rocketlab's CEO had to "eat his hat" when he finally realized that the cost difference was real, that reusability was here to stay, and they had to develop a direct competitor to SpaceX.

SpaceX provides a per-seat, per-launch cost, not a direct government subsidy - That would be ULA. ULA was literally a direct mechanism for transferring tax revenue to large multi-national defense companies to procure "independent access to space" (sound familiar?).

They do use (and pay for and lease) NASA and Air Force facilities - but in America, airports are government institutions as well, that are explicitly leased out to airlines. Reuse of NASA's unused resources, rather than destroying them (or paying for the upkeep) after the shuttle program, was an explicit political decision.

So why isn't SpaceX cheaper? They have kept prices high (but still lower than everyone else) to help fund Starlink. The fact that they can do so is reflective of Falcon's costs.

Reusability is real. Ariane 6 is nothing more then the ULAification of Arianespace.

>So why isn't SpaceX cheaper?

Another way to look at the price is from supply/demand angle. Even if real cost of falcon 9 launch is much lower than its price, SpaceX can not just lower the price, otherwise they will need to handle even greater demand.

Even with current price their launch cadence grows exponentially year by year. With lower prices they would need to grow even faster.

I think where the economics around that get screwed up is that supply <-> demand are very disconnected from each other here - tens, if not hundreds of millions and in a few case billions of dollars are spent on the payloads for Falcon, and Starlink - SapceX itself is 2/3rds of their own volume. Before Starlink started launching there were clear signs that SpaceX was building more capacity then the market could bear.

If you don't gain any additional volume by lowering cost, it doesn't make any sense to lower your cost.

It also doesn't help that Rockets (for fairly obvious reasons) are highly regulated, which further distorts this market.

Given that ULA historically purchased engines from Russia, are you suggesting that it was a direct mechanism for transferring tax revenue to Russia companies?
Yes. The idea was to keep the engines (and engineers) out of the hands of the other likely buyers. You've seen how soviet military surplus gets around: the same channels work for rocket engines, and those engines work in ICBMs just as well as they work in orbital launch platforms.

I don't know how effective this was. Did it backfire by promoting economies of scale in a program that went on to sell to adversaries anyway? Did it murder the domestic engine programs and did that have knock-on consequences? I don't know if the policy was effective, but I do know that stopping "engine proliferation" was a widely given and accepted reason for those programs.

Well, RD-180 is not really a suitable engine for modern ICBMs due to the need for a cryogenic oxidizer, resulting in the ICBM not being a very responsive design. But you are certainly correct about the engineers.
Good point. Still, I have to imagine that the engines themselves are dual use in some regard. GNSS or spy satellites maybe? These days it seems like everyone and their dog has a GNSS constellation, but it wasn't always that way.
Interestingly, Ukraine has a lot of space industry and relevant experience. The EU could make use of that, one day. Or the Western world in general.

Of course that means not leaving them over to the bear.

Indirect through ULA, but yes; it's not like Russia is in an alien dimension. Trading with it was fine, at least until recently.
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And for anyone who wants to read about Russia in an alien dimension, I can't recommend highly enough Charles Stross's "Merchant Princes" and "Empire Games" series!
Every engine that america was buying from Russia was not ending up in China. Massive national defense win.
> Given that ULA historically purchased engines from Russia, are you suggesting that it was a direct mechanism for transferring tax revenue to Russia companies?

I mean, for many years the US bought seats on Soyuz launches, so that was an even more direct mechanism.

Yes. Deliberately so. They wanted to ensure that rocket and nuclear technology did not proliferate in the 2000s and were willing to directly pay for Russian engineers and knowledge to keep them from going elsewhere.
Not sure why "eat his hat" is in quotes as it's very much literal, other than maybe that he just ate part of a (probably clean) hat?

https://youtu.be/Rafa_WBFIyE?si=34h4rZWiLUSCMKQq&t=188

> SpaceX benefits from massive taxpayer support and uses facilities built by the military and NASA

So does ArianeSpace [1]. (It’s majority owned by the French state. EDIT: It’s not.)

> no clear public indication of how reusable its rockets really are or their refurb cost

Refurb rates and turnaround times for Falcon 9 first stages are publicly documented [2]. Refurb costs are more opaque, but they’d have to be multiples of what SpaceX charges to approach Ariane 6’s cost projections.

Ariane 6 is obsolete on arrival; ArianeSpace’s CEO admitted as much in asking the ESA to fund a reusable heavy booster like Falcon Heavy [3].

[1] https://www.space.com/europe-ariane-6-rocket-debut-launch

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_first-stage_b...

[3] https://www.illdefined.space/arianespace-the-only-fish-in-th...

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> It’s majority owned by the French state

Is that really true? I thought it was owned 50:50 by Safran and Airbus which are both publicly traded companies.

~25% of Airbus is owned by France, Germany and Spain. France owes ~11% of Safran. So France seems to own only ~10% of ArianeSpace

You’re correct—thank you. I missed CNES transferring its shares to Safran [1].

[1] https://www.arianespace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Corpo...

> So does ArianeSpace [1]. (It’s majority owned by the French state.)

True, but the EU has tight rules about government subsidies (TFEU art. 107-109) which don't have equivalent in the US.

> Ariane 6 is obsolete on arrival; ArianeSpace’s CEO admitted as much in asking the ESA to fund a reusable heavy booster like Falcon Heavy [3].

This is true though.

Please note - Airbus has received tens of billions of dollars in launch aid that only in 2018 was ruled illegal and still has not launched a major airframe without this form of government aid.

Aviation and space have been a super-highly subsidized environment since day one, on both sides of the Atlantic.

>True, but the EU has tight rules about government subsidies (TFEU art. 107-109) which don't have equivalent in the US.

ESA member states contributed €2.815 billion for the development of Ariane 6. Industry contributed €400 million.

Additionally, the member states have agreed to subsidize the Ariane 6 to the tune of €340 million annually.

Where does SpaceX get its development funding from?
Depends. The original Falcon 1 funding mostly came from Musk and a few friends.

Then for the Falcon 9, they got the COTS contract for resupply of the station. Or rather they got a contract that would pay money if they were successful in executing. This funding was mostly for the Dragon Space craft, but it also funded Falcon 9. But that was a much smaller number then Ariane 6.

Then SpaceX got Commercial Crew, for 2.6 billion $. That mostly funded Crew Dragon space craft. But it also required human rating of Falcon 9. So those 2.6 billion $ were not assigned X amount for Dragon, Y for Falcon 9. SpaceX was just required to launch people to ISS and bring them back with NASA overview. During this time SpaceX finished the Block 5 version, and that was human rated.

Beyond that SpaceX did most of the development on the re-usability of Falcon 9 on their own money. They used costumer missions to do a lot of the testing. But importantly, SpaceX never got any money from NASA to develop re-usability.

Same goes for Falcon Heavy. SpaceX sold Falcon Heavy to DoD but they didn't get any development contract for the rocket itself. Falcon Heavy was fully developed by SpaceX on their own money.

SpaceX did miss out on a major DoD development funding when they bid Starship and DoD did want it. Other companies like BlueOrigin and ULA got a huge amount of money.

Both Raptor and Starship were mostly on SpaceX as well. A very early version of Raptor, when it was very different from what is now, once got a DoD research contract. Only when there was a competition for Human Moon Lander System, and Starship got selected, was government spending any money on Starship. And HLS is milestone based, so that will help SpaceX a little to pay for Starship. But a lot of that money will go into the customized version of Starship for use as a moon lander.

Starlink is basically fully funded by SpaceX. There never was any development money.

So in totality, SpaceX doesn't really get much development money for rockets or engine. They get money for spacecraft (Dragon 1, Crew Dragon, Cargo Dragon), and they just have to make sure they have a rocket that they can launch on. They could also just buy somebody else rocket, but of course that's not what SpaceX wants to do.

For all this stuff, Starship, Starlink and so on, they did raise like 10 billion $. That the majority of their major developments.

They've had multiple private VC rounds. They also have had several milestone based development contracts from the government to develop capabilities (iss cargo and crew mainly) while charging the government less to do that dev work then their competitors bid.
Several of the investment rounds included participation from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm.
> Several of the investment rounds included participation from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm

Not a significant source of capital. NASA COTS was Hawthorne’s public-money shot in the arm.

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Yes and it saved/will have saved them literally billions over the following 20 years.
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They sell commercial services to private industry and Government.
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If I would be begging for new development money from the parent org after just launching a new product, I would also say that the new product is obsolete and we need to work on a replacement ASAP... especially in a pork-barrel org
> I would also say that the new product is obsolete and we need to work on a replacement ASAP

Sure. See the rest of the article. Everyone else has been saying the same for a decade.

Note that the reusable heavy launcher he’s pitching is still aiming to deliver in a decade what SpaceX can do today. It’s not a strategic option, it’s a jobs programme.

It is a strategic option because should SpaceX suddenly say no to launches, you have a backup. An expensive backup, but it's there.

If ESA has 100 payloads, it can just book 90 of them on SpaceX and the mandated 10 of ArianeSpace (to keep the political pork happy), and lose only 10% efficiency (considering Ariane flight is twice as expensive as SpaceX).

The problem is that ESA has no scalable payload economy, nobody has a good reason yet to launch that much mass. SpaceX is its own customer with Starlink for scalable launches, but ESA or NASA will not deliver 100 sattelites per year.

> should SpaceX suddenly say no to launches, you have a backup. An expensive backup, but it's there

It's not a functional back-up. Not for any commercial use case relevant outside the military.

If all you want is a back-up for military launches, the Ariane 5ME was a better, cheaper option that could have bridged the gap to a competitive reusable [1]. The billions of dollars wasted on Ariane 6 would have put Europe into the running for a competitive launch vehicle in the 2030s. Instead, we have Arianespace's CEO pitching another boondoggle to ensure Europe has a Falcon Heavy by the 2030s.

So yes, having 10% launch capability is better than zero. But that 10% could have been bought for much cheaper. And saying 90% of your space industry is subject to foreign control versus 100% is a bit milquetoast, particularly when the alternative would have been R&D to bring that down to e.g. 50%.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_5#Ariane_5_ME

that's a marginal improvement in attitude than previous Arianespace leaders:

> "Let us say we had ten guaranteed launches per year in Europe and we had a rocket which we can use ten times—we would build exactly one rocket per year. That makes no sense. I cannot tell my teams: 'Goodbye, see you next year!'"

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/ariane-chief-seems-f...

They must have poached him from the consumer electronics industry... Thanks for sharing this ridiculous statement.

I remember one of the execs of ArianeSpace or ESA just a couple years ago stating on radio with much confidence that SpaceX would never manage to reuse a rocket.

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Ariane 6 is quite heavily subsidized, with ArianeGroup getting €340M per year to operate it [1]. With an expected 10 launches per year, that's about €34M/launch.

But in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter: Europe needs to be able to put its own military satellites (or anything else critical) up there. Military satellites sold to third party countries also won't launch themselves...

[1] https://europeanspaceflight.com/arianegroup-to-receive-e340m...

>Ariane 6 is quite heavily subsidized

All major aerospace companies and projects are heavily subsidized in every country otherwise they would never survive or even be born. Like how much profit did NASA make over its lifetime?

NASA is a government agency though, so it doesn't have profit generation as its target. And that's fine, neither does the US army or any other government branch except for the tax office.
Right? At a certain point, governments are the only entities that can afford to send things to space. "Highly-subsidized" here just means "government is 99% of company's market base".
That certain point is in the past. Today, all sorts of private entities send things into space. As launch gets cheaper, private activities in space will dominate, if they don't already.
> But in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter: Europe needs to be able to put its own military satellites (or anything else critical) up there. Military satellites sold to third party countries also won't launch themselves...

I'm very surprised the EU and the USA and SpaceX didn't work out a deal to buy a certain number of F9's to be launched and operated from the EU. The EU would pay a (vey high) price to buy outright the rockets, and would agree not to develop a competing rocket design in the next 20 yrs.

> "would agree not to develop a competing rocket design in the next 20 yrs"

Isn't the whole point of Ariane to maintain European capability for independent space launches?

It would be very hard to spin that up from nowhere after twenty years of complete inactivity.

> would be very hard to spin that up from nowhere after twenty years of complete inactivity

That’s not the only alternative.

> The EU would pay a (vey high) price to buy outright the rockets, and would agree not to develop a competing rocket design in the next 20 yrs.

So the worst of both worlds? It would still be very expensive, but also dependent on a foreign entity and with hands tied for the next decades unable to develop people, skills, or products in that direction.

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I think you fail to understand the concept of sovereignty.
European space programs are motivated by jobs, retaining domestic skills and actual usefulness in that order. Funding is allocated to companies based primarily on the country they’re in - funding must be split across all funding countries.

ESA is never going to just buy a rocket, because that would completely defeat the point of ESA.

> The EU would pay a (vey high) price to buy outright the rockets, and would agree not to develop a competing rocket design in the next 20 yrs.

It doesn't seem that surprising given the terms.

Why? That would be a bad deal for ESA. Instead of being behind 10 years with a fighting chance to catch-up, they would be 20 years behind and dependent on one, maybe two unreliable partners (Musk and maybe the USA under Trump).
Would that even be possible? SpaceX would need to either provide intense training (engineering, operating, etc) for their rockets, or to provide the staff and facilities themselves; basically the company would need to double its staff (if not more) to support a scheme like that.

I mean it makes sense, why not sell off rockets and whatnot commercially like the mass production strategy that Musk has in mind? But I don't think there's enough launches yet to warrant that. In fact, SpaceX is booked full for the next few years already; unless that's intentional, they simply don't have the production capacity to humour that idea.

> massive taxpayer support

When the Forest Service buys a truck from Ford do you also call that "taxpayer support"? The government buys stuff from SpaceX, it hasn't directly subsidized SpaceX for years. The government buys from the lowest bidder, which is almost always SpaceX. For example, NASA estimated that it would have to pay $1.5B to deorbit the ISS. After tender, SpaceX bid and won with an $843M bid. Who is subsidizing who here?

> uses facilities built by the military and NASA.

And for which it pays quite dearly for, on the order of $1M per launch. It's quite clear from Rocket Lab's books that operating their own launch facility is far cheaper than using the Space Force's or NASA's.

> creative accounting quoting their PR numbers,

To win their contracts, SpaceX has had to open their books to both the Space Force and NASA. It's one thing to lie to the press in a tweet, it's quite another to lie to the military in audited books. The press may be gullible, but army accountants are not incompetent and the consequences for lying to the military are not minor.

SpaceX's books are not open, but the amount they receive from the government is very public. It's quite obvious that SpaceX is highly profitable. They receive well under $2B from the government each year, they sell a couple dozen other rocket launches to others for ~$70M apiece, have not raised money for over 18 months, have a payroll approaching $1B per year and are quite obviously sinking multiple billions each year into Starship and Starlink. The only way the numbers add up is if Starlink is ridiculously cheap to build and Falcon is ridiculously cheap to launch.

> The government buys from the lowest bidder

To my knowledge, in the case of NASA’s launch contracts, only US companies are allowed to bid on these. It’s quite understandable that Europe would like to keep domestic capabilities the same way NASA aims to maintain the US’ domestic capabilities.

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>To my knowledge, in the case of NASA’s launch contracts, only US companies are allowed to bid on these.

Not true. One example: <https://www.yahoo.com/news/ariane-5-rocket-delivers-satellit...>

>SpaceX benefits from massive taxpayer support

Ariane 6 was funded by European taxpayers to the tune of €2.815 billion.

>and uses facilities built by the military and NASA.

Ariane is launched from the Guiana Space Centre which is owned and operated by the ESA. Since you haven't familiarised yourself with the topic, ESA is the European Space Agency and is owned by 22 European governments.

In addition, the member states of the ESA will subsidize the rocket for up to €340 million annually in return for an 11% discount on launches.

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> It’s not a like for like comparison especially give SpaceX keeping its books private and giving no clear public indication of how reusable its rockets really are or their refurb cost.

Elon in some interview was stating that Falcon architecture limits reusability to particular amount days so it is not _rapidly_ reusable in comparison to having Starship being catched by tower/reused rapidly. However mentioning merely days - that is surely pretty reusable and makes economical sense.

https://youtu.be/aFqjoCbZ4ik?si=pK-tptp0XbmOeoWN&t=432

> "... a couple days to get booster back. At least a few days to refurbish it for flight ..."

In practice, wiki mentions 21 days as fastest turnaround for a single booster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_first-stage_b... - So that means bringing booster back with ship, refurbishing, putting on the new payload and launching again.

Massive taxpayer support for such frivolous projects as the first and only global broadband (battlefield capable) communication system and the only working american human-rated launcher, both for quarter the cost the next guy would like to charge. Truly, shameless leeches.
There is more to SpaceX than just cost comparisons. SpaceX is a US company, meaning anyone wanting on the rocket has to submit to a host of space-related regulations and US national security policies. Some launches don't want to, or cannot, deal with such oversight. A doubling of launch costs seems huge, but operating satellites isn't cheap. Many launches may prefer the premium price if it means launching on a European rocket.
You don't actually believe that a rocket that is thrown away every launch could possibly be cost competitive with one that can be reused 20 times, do you?
A rocket that's thrown away was cheaper per flight than the shuttles, which were only partly discarded. It all depends on how much does it cost to build vs refurbish. Falcon 9 was designed to be easily refurbished and Ariane 6 was designed to be cheap to build. Also, launch campaign costs are not neglectable - moving the parts around, fueling, testing, and so on, are expensive.

Their next-gen ones should be reusable, and share a lot of design with the Falcon 9 family. Methalox might next, as it's very promising, but the RP1 supply chain is well established.

> A rocket that's thrown away was cheaper per flight than the shuttles, which were only partly discarded. It all depends on how much does it cost to build vs refurbish. Falcon 9 was designed to be easily refurbished and Ariane 6 was designed to be cheap to build.

It's not just that the Shuttle was expensive to refurbish. It was also very expensive to build.

Whereas Falcon 9 is much less expensive to build new than Ariane 6.

Ariane 6 was designed to be cheaper to build (cheaper than Ariane 5, that is).

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>Whereas Falcon 9 is much less expensive to build new than Ariane 6.

For context, my understanding is that SpaceX builds one new Falcon 9 upper stage (not reused) every day. I doubt there is another entity on earth building a new rocket every month.

SpaceX has a large fleet of Falcon 9 reusable boosters, but still needs to build one every now and then.

> For context, my understanding is that SpaceX builds one new Falcon 9 upper stage (not reused) every day.

Probably not quite that often. They're aiming to launch ~150 this year (although with the recent RUD, that'll be pretty tough). But yeah - 1 every other day is still very impressive.

It depends what you do with the rocket. Reuse isn't free, it has costs. Notably you need to carry more fuel with you in order to land, and that negatively affects overall performance. You also need to fly frequently to get the cost advantages. That's one reason SpaceX has turned to Starlink, since the demand from the market isn't enough to really get the benefits from reusable rockets.
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It's sad seeing this delusional take despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Lol, how delusional.

ArianeGroup literally just got 5 billion $ plus use of lots of tax payer subsidized infrastructure. That is 4 billion $ more then SpaceX ever got for development of Falcon 9.

Falcon 9 got an old shitty broken down launch sites they had rebuild, ArianeGroup got a whole new built launch site for free.

But feel free to live in fantasy land.

> It’s not a like for like comparison especially give SpaceX keeping its books private and giving no clear public indication of how reusable its rockets really are or their refurb cost.

Actual smart people and analyist firms have done a lot of work on this. And literally every single expert on the topic disagrees with you.

Its literally impossible to assume SpaceX is not saving money, because it would be insane for them to do 100+ launches if they couldn't do as cheaply as they claim.

> Given Musks history of creative accounting quoting their PR numbers, the ones they pitch congress, as facts is naive in the extreme.

No idea what you are talking about. All SpaceX contracts with the government a fixed cost. What they actually cost doesn't matter, if SpaceX can't deliver, they pay it themselves.

If the were constantly offering prices cheaper then they can do things for, they wouldn't exist.

Its amazing the brain power it takes to believe that SpaceX is losing money on launches, losing money on development contracts, and is developing Starlink and Starship and is losing money on Starlink operations. But somehow they still exist because 'mmhhh they raised money'.

Problem is we know how much money SpaceX raised, you can look it up. And we know what they get paid for their government contract. Their money raising isn't that crazy, in fact, its hard to believe that they have enough to work on Starlink and Starship at the same time. Other companies have spent far, more on things that are far less impressive.

But somehow they did both at the same time while also developing human launch. Increasing launch rates. And taking on a number of other fixed price development contracts. And somehow they still exist.

Anybody who actually studies these numbers come to the same conclusion. And those simply don't agree with you. Go and actually try to build a model and do the numbers yourself. You will prove yourself wrong. But of course you wont do that, because you were already to lazy to look up what all the space analysts already concluded.

Better just keep repeating those anti-Musk talking points you found on twitter from people who wouldn't know what side of a rocket points up.

> Problem is we know how much money SpaceX raised

If they wanted to raise money without it becoming public, they could do so easily - for example using directors loans.

A better way to guess their expenses is to look at how many employees they have. Lets call it 15,000. Lets put average pay at $150k/year after overheads and taxes. 96 launches in 2023. That puts the salary cost per launch at $23M/launch.

It's a very rough figure because obviously some rocket parts are purchased, there are other overheads, and there are other revenues and costs from starlink etc.

Most people at SpaceX work on development programs and in manufacturing not launch. SpaceX manufactures many different things. Launch by now isn't even close to a majority of revenue anymore. SpaceX is not just a launch company, not even close. They are a full space company doing everything from ground infrastructure, commercial and military sats, human and cargo space flight to LEO and the moon. And they are doing development and operations of all of that.

What matters is marginal cost of every other launch of Falcon 9. Most analysts put the number somewhere between 10 million $ and 25 million $. I think very few people would guess more then 20 million $, specially now as launch rate has gone up. My guess is that 15 million $ is more reasonable.

SpaceX pretty consistently ramped up their money raising along with their development programs. And they were pretty transparent about all of that. Not a single company who analyses SpaceX has ever suggest that SpaceX might somehow have raised much more money. Maybe a few 10s of million. But its hard to raise billions without anybody knowing.

And I'm just rather believing people who spend a lot of resources trying to understand SpaceX rather then somebody in an internet form saying 'maybe they have raised billions without anybody knowing'. Because only if its actually billions would it change anything about my argument.

What is numbers actually suggest is that SpaceX Falcon 9 operation are highly profitable. They are selling launch way above cost. Numbers and information we have suggest that SpaceX bids very aggressively on their development contracts for NASA, and they are like no making a profit on those, maybe a loss. In case of Starship, a big loss. But likely they get that back with continued operation beyond the initial orders (or that has been the reality so far). Numbers suggest that SpaceX is making a killing on DoD contracts, they knew they were the only viable competitor so they bid very high on those. I think just one that stuff, SpaceX would be a highly profitable company.

If this was not true, then there simply is no way they could have sustained the massive investment in Starship and Starlink.

So unless somebody shows me prove or anything close to a credible source, showing that SpaceX raised multiple billion additional $, I'm just not gone believe the SpaceX is losing money on everything narrative.

Frankly given how insanely expensive something like Starship is, its crazy how little money they have actually raised. Its basically a drop in the bucket to compare it to SLS.

You really think 100% of salaries can be attributed to launch costs of one of their rocket types?
do you imagine the ESAs some kind of private actor? its paid by the taxpayers whether it makes money or not
> 6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design will be very similar:

And by then, SpaceX will be 10 years ahead of them with a next-gen platform.

Not a great sounding story.

> And by then, SpaceX will be 10 years ahead of them with a next-gen platform.

Or going bust if Starship will turn out to be a flop.

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For any European? Thats fantastic. Let that ego maniac and putin's admirer chase latest and shiniest, we all will learn from his success and failures.

We (US vs Europe) are not racing nor competing in this in any way, we just need to put out payload up there too. We desperately need our own skillset though, with Trump or similar breed potentially at power across the pond US will become more hostile towards Europe and let russia roll over Ukraine and maybe further, absolutely no doubt there.

> 6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design

That's what presentation by some high-ranking ESA person said when I was considering joining a Master's program in Spacecraft Design in Kiruna, Sweden, where some ESA launch facilities are located. I found that goal extremely uninspiring, especially combined with European salaries, so I opted to keep getting paid well working on software to feed people more burgers.

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> The launch cost is almost 2x the cost of Falcon 9.

I can't be the only one who thinks this is still a huge win. What did launch costs look like 10-30 years ago?

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It may be 2x the cost of Falcon 9, but it's a different use case and volume (~10 per year for Ariane, ~100 for Falcon 9); Ariane 6 would not be cheaper at those volumes if it was reusable.

Also keep in mind that most of Falcon's use is for SpaceX itself, 2/3rds of launches are for Starlink.

Not sure why everyone here is talking about cost when independent control is much more to be desired. If a country / countries aren’t as friendly or dislike what you want to do they might not let you do what you want.
Is the cost difference mostly due by design or also due to much higher production volume and launches for Falcon 9 ?
Both.
The main genius of SpaceX is the mass production. Hopefully they can replicate that in the future.
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For context, my understanding is that SpaceX builds one new Falcon 9 upper stage (not reused) every day. I doubt there is another entity on earth building a new rocket every month.

SpaceX has a large fleet of Falcon 9 reusable boosters, but still needs to build one every now and then.

Well question is why would EU want mass production of rockets and for what purpose?
Well, right now they lack that capability and don't show any interest in it, so why would anyone in the EU even bother working on the things that would use it, like, LEO megaconstellations (ie Starlink or Starshield alternatives)? They also miss out on business building out such constellations from other companies. Amazon bought up a bunch of Ariane 6 launches, but obviously in the long term they'll be shifting to something which can potentially be more cost efficient like New Glenn.
I guess the pride that requires them to have their own launcher has its limits.
> Ariane 6 exists so that European countries can get independent access to space between now and 2030s.

No it doesn't. That directly contradicts the actual rational for Ariane 6 as outlined in 2014.

There were two options, Ariane 6 or Ariane 5 ME. With France principally favoring Ariane 6 and Germany Ariane 5 ME. With Ariane 6 costing many billions, and Ariane 5 ME costing a few 100 million $.

The Ariane 5 ME would have done the 'independent access to space between now and 2030s' just fine.

The explicit reason why they wanted Ariane 6 was to remain competitive against the Falcon 9. They were starting to lose launches on mass to Falcon 9 already by 2014 and were panicking.

Its simply PR spin to now pretend this never happened. But rather admit that they spend 5 billion $ to lose the commercial market anyway and were basically now subsidizing uncommunicative launches for US cooperations instead.

Ariane 6 achieved the exact opposite of what its rational was in 2014. Instead of helping Europe pay for its space industry, it has to be subsidized.

> 6-10 years from now Ariane Next/SALTO will aims replicate Falcon 9 efficiency and the design will be very similar: reusable, RP-1/LOX, Prometheus engine is similar reusable open cycle engine as Merlin with lots of 3D printed parts.

Sure in fantasy land this is true. The reality is, after the gigantic expanse of Ariane 6, that cost way more then expected. With Europe having huge debt and Ukraine was, plus very expensive new space systems, there is very little actual drive towards a new large rocket system.

Such a rocket system would again cost many, many billions and this will be politically impossible, not just because of the money.

Beyond the rational mentioned above, the reason Ariane 6 was picked, was that France was willing to give solid booster contracts to Italy. So France literally 'paid off' Italy to get them on board Ariane 6.

The reality is, Italy simply will not wnat to move away from solids. And Germany is, very, very, very unlikely to be onboard for another gigantic rocket investment, after they already didn't want the Ariane 6 in the first place. Without Germany and Italy there simply isn't gone be a 'next big European rocket'.

Between your optimistic 6 years prediction, I would say 2040 is a much more likely date then 2030. We have already seen delay with the test platforms. And we are already seen a collapse of the 'all ArianeGroup' all the time mantra that Europe had. The idea that ESA would hand ArianeGroup another 5 billion $ in the current environment just isn't gone happen.

And this is simply because of exactly what people already pointed out in 2014. Wait until the technology is ready, and then develop a next generation rocket, rather then rush out a sub-optimal design 'quickly'.

Now they have shot their powder and are stuck on a slightly improved Ariane 5 rocket with no reasonable path for upgrade. Exactly as many critics have pointed out in 2014.

> reusable, RP-1/LOX, Prometheus engine is similar reusable open cycle engine as Merlin with lots of 3D printed parts.

Prometheus has been in development since 2015 already, and they are not even at full duration testing yet. Bragging about a new GG engine today isn't that impressive, not for a space power that has been making engines for decades.

RocketLab, has just recently switched from Gas Generator to Staged. And with much less money their Archimedes seems to be developing much faster then Prometheus while being much more advanced.

Europe is just being out executed in so many way. RocketLab will basically develop a complete new rocket and advanced engine for a cost comparable to what Europe spends on engine development and re-usability test programs.

RocketLab will put this stuff into commercial deployment a decade before ArianeGroup despite having started years later.

Sorry, I'm not that impressed by 'maybe in 2035 we will clone SpaceX architecture from 2020' just with a much less optimized engine.

Even though this is not impressive compared to SpaceX, it is still essential that we have multiple actors building rockets. The competition makes sure that SpaceX needs to push the boundaries. Our future as a multi-planetary species is not dependent on a single actor.

I'm hoping for some space race. It would be great if the United States would transfer a part of MIC funding to space exploration.

> it is still essential that we have multiple actors building rockets. The competition

Twice the cost and at a small fraction of the frequency is competition in the way a rubber duck competes with a battle ship.

Ariana 6 isn’t meaningful competition. ArianeSpace’s sole value is in its potential of becoming competition if one day sensibly managed.

SpaceX came to be because of all of the knowledge, skills, industry, and people produced by NASA and the US taxpayers.

So it is crucial for Europe to maintain and develop its knowledge and industrial base, but indeed they should also adapt to compete because that's the only way to survive in the long term.

> it is crucial for Europe to maintain and develop its knowledge and industrial base

SpaceX built heavily on NASA's heritage. But very few people came from old space to SpaceX. The cultures and skills simply aren't very transferable.

Arianne 6 is not about competition, but about strategic independence at the first place.
> Arianne 6 is not about competition, but about strategic independence at the first place

That’s what the Starliner folks said. The fault in their argument was ignoring scale effects.

Ariane 6 buys Europe zero practical launch independence, other than maintaining the workforce (and accompanying skill set). If SpaceX blocks Europe, it’s game over for any constellation operator and, in all likelihood, the European commercial space sector.

Ariane 6 hopes to do 10 launches per year by 2030. That’s a few weeks’ Falcon 9s today. Each Ariane 6 launch requires subsidies to be competitive, and that’s assuming Arianespace’s forecasts hold. (They haven’t.) Every one of those euros could be used, instead, on R&D.

Ariane 6 uses cryogenic fuel. It has no landing system, mass-manufacturing site or refurbishment elements. That means that none of the foundational technologies for reusable launch are being worked on. (Ariane 5E would have been a strategic hedge. But Paris wouldn’t have it.)

It is completely irrelevant how much Falcon 9 cost if political leadership of USA is unreliable and unstable. Flacon 9 could be flying for free, but if you could lose access to it any time, it is like it does not exist.
> Flacon 9 could be flying for free, but if you could lose access to it any time, it is like it does not exist

The point is Ariane 6 enables nothing new. If SpaceX blocks Europe for some reason, with or without Ariane 6, Europe isn't going to have a LEO constellation. Keeping Ariane 5 (5ME [1]) and developing a reusable platform would have been a smarter use of resources. (It aso wasn't particularly daring, either, over the last decade.) Instead, the ESA gets stuck with SLS but for Brussels.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_5#Ariane_5_ME

> Ariane 6 uses cryogenic fuel.

Falcon 9's fuel is cooled slightly, if not cryogenic (RP-1 becomes denser when cold), and of course Starship uses cryogenic methane. And they both use liquid oxygen, although that's an oxidizer, not a fuel.

You can't have that strategic independence in the long term is your capability falls more and more behind others in terms of technology and costs. This also has a ripple effect on your industry at large: Would European companies use this European independent launch capability if it was costly and obsolete? No. Would the European military be able to compete against adversaries? No.

An extreme illustration: would you say that Spain had strategic independent seafaring capability if it had maintained fleet a galleons to this day?

> Would European companies use this European independent launch capability if it was costly and obsolete?

If USA will go hermit mode like at the end of 19th century, then they will have no other choice. And we certainly have signs of US wanting to go into isolation.

And also, SpaceX is booked full for years; there is plenty of space for competition even if it costs more.
SpaceX is the only medium-heavy lift provider in the West with free space on their manifest right now. Sure they're constantly launching Starlink, but their entire offering is that if someone else needs to launch a payload, they'll just repurpose a launch that would otherwise be carrying Starlink (since external launches come with a profit, while Starlink launches are at internal cost).

Vulcan's capacity for a year or so is already booked, and Ariane 6 is also fully booked for several years out. Others in the class are approaching first flight, but still lacking enough information to book a launch on.

Ariane 6 is booked for years, SpaceX use most of their launches to put Starlink satellites in orbit. They have a lot of capacity to sell more launches, actually.
It needs to start somewhere, right? We can't "just build" a NX-class starship without sciencing it out and R&D.
> needs to start somewhere, right?

Not here. If you’re bootstrapping a modern navy you don’t start by building galleons. Ariane 6 is the prettiest space galleon there ever was. That doesn’t translate into meaningful R&D for a reusable booster. (For example, cryogenic fuels aren’t great for reuse. So dump the engine. Their production cycles are artisan versus assembly line. Et cetera.)

This isn’t a story of European incompetence. It’s one of excellent engineers being wasted by an extractive monopoly. We had the same problem in America in ULA; we never figured out how to reform them. We got lucky in a reboot.

> cryogenic fuels aren’t great for reuse.

Which is why Starship doesn't... wait a second!

I'm not sure its meant to be "competetive", the intention is to have independent route to space for Europe.

Depending on Russia or the USA is an intolerable risk.

Yeah this is ESA's see-we-have-domestic-launch-capability pointless SLS tier project basically, my tax dollars at work.

I'm really puzzled at the lack of investment into any kind of reusable launch vehicle that could even come close to competing with SpaceX. Launching on this expensive relic of the past makes zero sense unless your payload is a military spysat.

I don't find it surprising. The orbital launch industry is small, but it requires large risky long-term investments. Until a few years ago, SpaceX revenues were relatively flat at ~$2 billion/year. There has been significant growth since then, but more from Starlink than from external customers.

If you're interested in money, there are better investment opportunities around. And if your angle is national security, the ~€500 million/year needed for a program such as Ariane 6 is little more than a rounding error.

We do have a minor space race between the Artemis program and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

It's not as high-profile as the race to the first moon landing, but America's new ambitions to returning to the Moon are at least in part fueled by not wanting to be upstaged by the Chinese. Now both are aiming for putting humans on the moon again before 2030, and both have plans for at least one moon base (that each originally announced to happen before 2030)

I don't think it is that impressive anymore. We've been building rockets for decades. Making them return to Earth is peanuts compared to building a self driving car. You can even make a simulation that is 99% accurate without much effort. Also, rocket science is just Newtonian physics.

Of course, building a rocket requires a shit-ton of resources, so if anything is impressive then it's the management of those resources.

> Also, rocket science is just Newtonian physics.

Disagree.

The newtonian physics part of flying a rocket is indeed the boring part of rocket science in these days of Ghz computing.

But all the engineering (an altogether different - if related - discipline) required is anything but simple.

And engineering and all of its sub-disciplines (materials science, propellant research, iterative refinement, operational research, logistics, 3d printing, computing, simulation, structural engineering, etc...) is both where the complexity lives and where the greatest progress in rocket science has been made.

The devil is in details, as usual.

Yup, as an engineer the "nuts and bolts" of all this stuff is the really hard part.

The stresses, forces, environment etc that these machines face mean that it is always impressive the don't blow up.

And its silly talk to say that the ESA shouldn't have its own rocket programmes.

I view the things you mention as incremental improvements on stuff that basically worked since the 60s.
If we want to get real pedantic, the Chinese invented rocket powered flight around 1000AD.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huo_Che

They're only incremental improvements in the sense that developing LLMs is an incremental improvement on stuff that basically worked in the 60s.
There was no way to solve hypersonic retropropulsion without doing it.
> Also, rocket science is just Newtonian physics.

Spoken like a true software engineer ;)

Software engineers have a lack of self-esteem when comparing to other STEM disciplines. The reason we see more fuck-ups in software than in other fields is not because software engineers are stupid, but because software is inherently difficult.
Software engineers are not stupid, but in other STEM disciplines they have a reputation of making themselves look stupid because of beliefs like "it's just newtonian physics".
Rockets and drugs discovery seems harder but failure is part of those discipline and they are managed accordingly. It's rarely the case in software.
Unfortunately the mission didn't perform smoothly as intended at the end, there was an issue with the auxiliary power unit and it wasn't able to de-orbit once deployed the cubesats:

https://x.com/AndrewParsonson/status/1810794808828641546

*auxiliary propulsion unit :)

It isn't the same thing as the APU in a plane (where I think most people are getting the 'auxiliary power unit'). The APU here is a secondary thruster which ensures proper pressure (and likely ullage) for the main engine to start.

Haha right, I paused for a second as I couldn't remember the exact word and went with power. Thanks for the correction and the explanation.
Previous livestream submission, just 16 hours earlier than this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40918284

Top comment from above submission:

  mrtksn 18 hours ago
  IIUC this is one of those projects that the governments fund when the free market solution doesn't exist.
  Sure, Falcon 9 or Soyuz exists but those are foreign entities that might become unavailable due to politics, therefore a local solution must be developed even if its not the most cost effective. It also must help train and retain local talent and distribute funds to participating parties.
  So, it may be a bit expensive but in the end you get a rocket, a workforce who knows how to design and build rockets and they happen to spend the money they receive locally.
  IMHO they should invest in video production and art too, no one ever comes close to Space X in that department.
  edit: Wow, so much negativity for a successful launch.
This reminds me of reading about the launch of the HMS Dreadnought in 1906. The Dreadnought was a revolutionary battleship: a turbine engine made it faster than any other battleship, and it had all 12-inch guns (instead of a wasteful mix of small and large guns).

It was so clearly superior to all other battleships that the name "dreadnought" become a generic name for a modern battleship.

But here's the thing: navies around the world resisted building their own dreadnoughts. If you've spent your military treasure on pre-dreadnought battleships, how do you explain to citizens that they're all obsolete and you need to start from scratch?

And so it is with reusable rockets. In 2018, Alain Charmeau, an ArianeSpace exec, said that re-usable rockets make no sense because, "Let us say we had ten guaranteed launches per year in Europe and we had a rocket which we can use ten times—we would build exactly one rocket per year!" And that would be bad because what do you do with the employees? [1]

This is classic sunk-cost fallacy.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/ariane-chief-seems-f...

At the risk of beating a dead horse: In 2018, Starship was not even fully designed (later that year they switched to stainless steel instead of carbon-composite).

Yet Starship managed to fly into orbit and re-enter successfully before Ariane 6 flew even once.

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>later that year they switched to stainless steel instead of carbon-composite

A decision which, according to Isaacson's Elon Musk, Musk insisted on against considerable opposition from his engineers. One more point against the frequent claim that Musk isn't a "real" engineer/doesn't really do anything at SpaceX.

The bearishness, pessimism, and criticism in this thread—especially by just a handful of prolific commenters—is off-the-charts.

We have people comparing strategic assets and state-owned enterprises to private commercial enterprises. Well done.

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Sorry, but the pessimism, criticism and bearishness is warranted.

By now, making a new rocket today that is non-reusable is like inventing the penny farthing and trying to compete in modern day tour the France.

Europe deserves to be led by bold industrialists, not ran by frightened bureaucrats.

| Nevertheless, it had several passengers on board.

"passengers" → "payloads", I assume.

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I guess something is better than nothing. But it's a shame to be launching something that seems obsolete from the start
It's not obsolete if it works and there's people paying for it. Most space rockets are decades old tech, calling it obsolete seems pointless.
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Obsolete as in it can be competitive or not ...
This is Europe's slogan.
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Related discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40918284 (57 comments)
In Germany there are 3 companies, I heard in France 2 companies, I don't any in other parts of Europe but there are definitely but I suppose the European rocket start up pipeline is filled.

P. S. HN please tell me about your (European) nation's future rocket builder.

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I still don't know how seriously to take it, but this one really stands out from the crowd:

https://www.sidereus.space/

https://europeanspaceflight.com/sidereus-space-dynamics-comp...

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That's just a sounding rocket though, not all that different from the 1940s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerobee

Sidereus' EOS is a miniature, reusable orbital launcher. Load it in a tuck, drive to a field outside town, launch it with your cubesat, then go pick it up at the local airport as it glides back down from space on its parafoil.

https://www.sidereus.space/eos/

SciFi stuff if it works.

Also here is a non rocket space device from Germany https://www.polaris-raumflugzeuge.de/ (I cant judge their seriousness, but they got funding by military)
Too bad they are not equipped to rescue the 2 astro nauts Boeing has been left stranded on the ISS for over a month.

There they are munching up unbudgeted food and oxygen.

Which will not be a problem, since ISS should have a reserve supply for 3 months, but it should impact the the next supply run.

Will Boeing bring them back?

I would think NASA has reached out to SpaceX, and possibly the Russians (? in today political climate?) and asked what their rescue capabilities might be. SpaceX seems likely to be able to prepare rescue rocket fairly quickly?

If they were actually stranded, the Crew Dragon being prepared for a private flight in August would probably be in the process of being prepared for heading to the ISS instead.

They are not stranded. They are staying because this Starliner is rated for 45 days at the station and since the service module (the location of the helium leak) is disposed of before reentry. Better to delay and attempt to gather as much information about the leak as possible while they can still run tests than have to try to figure out what might've been wrong after the fact.

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> Beyond the great emotion I am feeling right now, my first thoughts are for all the teams in Kourou, Paris, Vernon, Les Mureaux, Toulouse, Bremen, Lampoldshausen, Liège, Barcelona, Colleferro, Zürich and everywhere else in Europe who made this success possible.

Would the UK have been a part of this pre-Brexit?

The UK is still part of ESA.

They do not have a direct involvement in the Ariane project however.

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The UK is part of ESA, which should be independant from EU membership. I am not sure where Ariane 6 parts are built though.
This is great! Now we're waiting for Themis to become a reality.
I’m happy it exists but it’s incredibly disappointing how non competitive it is. There was a lot of hubris in the project in the beginning and now it’s clear that they are years behind. Which in turn makes future funding a challenge I’m sure.

I really hope they don’t give up and manage become more ambitious.

Funding hard to lose when the end result is needed and is a strategic objective. Not funding it would make the EU depend on others and knowledge would be lost.

Interesting to think about a way how these perfectly connected people could be exchanged to some new, pragmatic generation.

knowledge is preserved by having more people have it and build upon it. subsidizing decaying incumbents is not an effective way to preserve knowledge
Yeah, but govt could find multiple companies instead of a monopoly. Encourage domestic competition.
"but muuuh SpaceX ftw!"

The inspection costs needed for reusability are undervalued by the SpaceX fantroopers.

thank you
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not sure why you are getting downvoted, that was a funny reference to Ariane 501/V88.
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How so? What are you referring to?
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I think they're referring to the Ariane 5 disaster in 1996 caused by a software bug...
Maybe he's defensive because of his username is similar to Aryan too
Ariane is a series of European civilian expendable launch vehicles for space launch use. The name comes from the French spelling of the mythological character Ariadne. France first proposed the Ariane project and it was officially agreed upon at the end of 1973 after discussions between France, Germany and the UK. [0]

In Greek mythology, Ariadne (/ˌæriˈædni/; Greek: Ἀριάδνη; Latin: Ariadne) was a Cretan princess, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. . . .Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes has also supported Ariadne having a pre-Greek origin; specifically being Minoan from Crete because her name includes the sequence dn (δν), rare in Indo-European languages and an indication that it is a Minoan loanword. [1]

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_(rocket_family)

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne

No mention of an engine failure and the last payload could not be delivered. It is now floating helplessly in orbit, effectively turned into space debris, endangering other projects.
There were no last payload to be delivered. The remaining payload was intended to deorbit along with the second stage.
"but the mission ended with the launcher coasting in orbit without releasing its final batch of payloads.", Reuters[1].

[1]: https://www.reuters.com/technology/space/europes-ariane-6-ro...

The plan was for the last payloads to separate from second stage and deorbit along with it. That was the delivery.

  35:13
  end of this the upper stage will flip in space and restart the Vinci engine to 
  break and set itself on a collision
  35:19
  course with Earth burning up in our atmosphere and limiting space debris but   
  before it touches atmosphere two
  35:26
  capsules are set to detach and had on their own mission to survive the extreme     
  temperatures of the re-entry and all
  35:32
  three elements will then splash down in the Pacific Ocean far away from 
  civilization this will end our mission
  [0]

  [...]

  4:42:58
  according to this new situation which means that the Vinci engine decided not
  4:43:04
  to restart because there was no ipu uh operating so he was not in a good 
  condition to restart and so there was a
  4:43:12
  passivation of the upper stage which was triggered in order to make it an object
  4:43:18
  which does not create um dangers of debris and the passivation works
  4:43:25
  perfectly according to plan uh and also it was the the launcher system decided
  4:43:32
  automatically not to to release the two capsules the two passengers because it
  4:43:39
  would have created additional debr and so uh we have an event which is not
  4:43:44
  understood yet which is why did the Apu stop but all the rest of the mission was
  [1]
0. https://youtu.be/B0oFpOJaIYc?t=2113

1. https://youtu.be/B0oFpOJaIYc?t=16978