By 2023, Europe plans to stop using Russian Soyuz-ST launch vehicles for launches from the Kourou Space Center, RIA Novosti news agency reports with reference to a source in the European space industry.
According to the source, Europeans will replace the Soyuz with their own carrier rocket, Ariane 6 that has two lateral accelerators. The source of RIA Novosti reports that the first launch of Ariane 6 is scheduled for July 16, 2020. The launch could be postponed for a year, and given the necessity to acquire flight statistics, the Soyuz would not be replaced before the year 2023.
The Soyuz ST-B was launched from Kourou on October 22, 2011. Eighteen Russian carrier rockets have been successfully launched from there since then. Three more launches are planned for 2018.
Previously, the media wrote that NASA may stop buying seats on Russian ships after 2019. SpaceX was named as the future carrier of American astronauts with its carrier rocket Falcon Heavy and the unmanned Dragon Vehicle.