COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the space industry but the announcement that Arianespace is to resume flights might be a sign of recovery.
Arianespace has been launching from Baikonur, Kazakhstan during the coronavirus pandemic; however, the Guiana Space Center was closed to launches. The announcement on April 29, 2020 that operations are to resume starting May 11 could entice other agencies into doing the same.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (IRSO) and Rocket Lab are two entities, along with Arianespace, to recently suspend launches. That is not to say that launched were canceled, rather pushed back to another date. Arianespace’s launch manifest includes a Vega launch in June and an Ariane 5 mission in July.
It is difficult to say when there will be a return to normalcy. Every country organization and company are different, and operations will likely resume when it fits their particular set of criteria. IRSO is currently developing hand sanitizer and ventilators to fight the pandemic for example.
As the space industry wades through uncharted waters due to COVID-19, a resumption of operations by Arianespace is assuredly positive news.