WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace is planning a rideshare mission to the moon in 2023 as an early step toward increasing Europe’s involvement in lunar activity, CEO Stéphane Israël said Oct. 22.
Israël, speaking at the 70th International Astronautical Congress here, said the rideshare mission will be able to deliver 8,500 kilograms into a lunar transfer orbit. Orbiters and/or landers would reach the moon three days after liftoff, he said.
“In 2023 we are ready to offer the first rideshare mission to the moon with Ariane 6,” Israël said, adding that Arianespace is “contemplating public and private customers” for that mission.
Ariane 6, which has its first flight in 2020, will not launch humans, Israël said. But Arianespace would like to see Europe conduct its own crewed missions and is poised to lobby for that goal. Israël said Arianespace will push for a European crewed spaceflight program at the European Space Agency’s 2022 ministerial meeting, where its member states will decide on what programs to fund for the next three years.
“I would like, for this next conference ministerial, [that] we start working on human flight through a European launcher,” he said.
Israël said ...