ANALYSIS – Europe has all the skills to get started in the race. She could develop a new capsule within seven to ten years, but many obstacles remain.
Thomas Pesquet will become this summer the 4e European to take command of the International Space Station and the first to fly aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. A mark of recognition for the European Space Agency (ESA) which should not obscure Europe’s complete dependence on manned flights. To access the low orbit where the ISS is positioned, at an altitude of 400 km, Europeans have no other choice but to board Russian and American capsules.
Since the abandonment of the American shuttles in 2011, the United States also depended on Russian Soyuz vessels until last year. But the country has since launched a vast program to regain independent access to space. In addition to the Crew Dragon capsule, operational since last year, NASA has also selected the Boeing Starliner, whose first manned flights are scheduled this year.
The American space agency is finally developing
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