The European Commission is partnering with the European Investment Bank Group to invest more than $220m in the space sector, in the form of a loan to help fund development of the Ariane 6 and investment in space startups.
During the European Space Policy Conference in Brussels, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle signed an agreement with Andre-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, confirming a $110m-loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme.
Ariane 6 is the new European heavy launcher developed in the framework of the European Space Agency’s multi-annual programme for a new series of space launchers at lower production costs.
The financing will partially support ArianeGroup’s share of development costs through an innovative financing structure which will be contingent on Ariane 6’s commercial success, once operational.
The other half of the investment will go towards a new programme, the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot, which is being developed in cooperation between the European Commission and European Investment Fund (EIF).
The programme will invest in venture capital funds across the EU which support companies commercialising new products and services in the space sector.
The European space economy is already valued at $55bn (as of 2019) and the research in aerospace technologies is one of the priority areas covered by the Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges of Horizon 2020.