“Epic, passion, emotion, battle…” The terms are a bit high-sounding to introduce the documentary devoted to the development of the European space program since the 1960s. However, we must recognize that the story of this scientific, political and commercial adventure is beat the viewer’s heart more than once. So many efforts, so many challenges, so many bitter failures, but also so many wonderful intuitions and victories!
Thanks to a host of witnesses and experts whose comments support filmed archives, often spectacular, we follow the saga without boredom for an hour and a half in the open sky. A common thread appears to be the heightened competition between Europe, the United States and the USSR.
It is about striking faster and harder, convincing financiers, attracting new customers, the rockets having the primary mission of propelling observation and telecommunications satellites into orbit. Successive Ariane models have delivered more than 300 satellites into space.
Before Ariane, there was Diamant, launched from an Algerian base, which “trained skills and gave confidence”. After the independence of Algeria, another site must be found: it will be Kourou in Guyana. In two years, the forest was cleared, a port, a meteorological station and a power station were built. Dantesque construction site that just awaits… rockets. And meanwhile, Americans are preparing to walk on the Moon.
From failure to success, from technological innovation to economic headache – all this is horribly expensive! –, the space war knows no truce, shaken up by new entrants, first and foremost the insolent SpaceX of a certain Elon Musk. Goaded, European industry is now pinning its hopes on Ariane 6, announced as “revolutionary”. In Kourou, a launch center and a new generation launch pad have been built. Just for her !