The European Space Agency (ESA) is now in talks with Elon Musk's SpaceX about replacing Russian Soyuz rockets with SpaceX launch vehicles after Russia's war in Ukraine blocked Western access to Russia's rockets, Reuters reports.
ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said that SpaceX is not the only company the agency is considering.
"I would say there are two and a half options that we're discussing. One is SpaceX that is clear. Another one is possibly Japan. Japan is waiting for the inaugural flight of its next generation rocket. Another option could be India. SpaceX I would say is the more operational of those and certainly one of the back-up launches we are looking at."
By now, all talks remain at the stage of exploring the best option. The agency also needs to make sure the interface between the launcher and satellite is suitable.
According to Aschbacher, Russia's war in Ukraine demonstrated that Europe's decades-long strategy of cooperation with Russia over gas supplies and in other areas, including space, was no longer working.