(Bloomberg) -- Germany, France and Italy signed a deal on space policy covering the financing of launchers and boosting innovation and competition in the sector in Europe as the continent tries to catch up with rivals from China and the US SpaceX.
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The agreement will provide €340 million ($365 million) of financing a year for Arianespace’s Ariane 6 rocket in exchange for a commitment to an 11% cut in costs. The rocket will also be awarded at least four missions from public institutions a year, while the lighter Vega C launcher will get at least three.
Speaking to journalists in a telephone briefing, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the financial support was comparable to that received by SpaceX.
“This agreement is a major success that marks a decisive turning point in the history of European space exploration,” he said.
Other elements of the space agreement:
France, Germany and Italy decide to support the launcher program for an additional 18 months to increase the number of guaranteed launches for Ariane 6 by 15 to 42 by 2030
Future launchers will be chosen in a competitive process with the aim of developing innovative technologies that Europe lacked in recent decades
French Guiana space center to be used for European space strategy
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