Until now SpaceX’s main client has undoubtedly been NASA. And it is that, since the cancellation of the space shuttle program, the US space agency has not had its own platform to take people into space. This is about to change with the very close debut of the Space Launch System (SLS), the NASA project on which the agency has been working for more than a decade and which, when completed, will return the ability to launch into space. without having to depend on third parties.
Until the arrival of SpaceX, the Russian Soyuz have been the only way for manned flights to the ISS and, together with the always reliable but financially burdensome French Arianne 5, which was used for the launch of the James Webb, the only option for most types of launches. It is true that the ecosystem of private companies in the sector is growing, but there are still no other viable alternatives for the present and in the short term.
Europe, although it does not have its own plans as ambitious as those of the United States, talso developed various space missions in which, like NASA, it depends on the Arianne 5 and, until recently, also on the Russian Soyuz. But, of course, in this respect the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has changed everything, to the point that the Russian space agency has stopped cooperating with Europe in launching Soyuz rockets from French Guiana, something that has left the next missions of the European Space Agency up in the air.
The situation, of course, is complex.. Some launches must be adjusted to very specific windows, to which we must add the investments that have been made in all of them, and that would be lost if the missions finally have to be canceled due to the impossibility of having the necessary launches.
Thus, in response to this threat, and according to reports the Reuters Agency, the European Space Agency would have already established talks with SpaceX, although they would still be in the phase of preliminary talks. Other options, such as the Japanese and Indian launch pads, are also being considered, although it is true that some sources indicate that the SpaceX option could be the most viable. Of course, it is pointed out that, in any case, it would be a temporary solution, a point that makes us wonder what the ESA’s plans are in the medium and long term.