The European Union has reached an agreement with the United States that allows the bloc to pay SpaceX for launching its satellites. The agreement is scheduled to be officially signed next week, Politico reports.

All this is necessary due to long delays in launching the next generation of the European Ariane rocket system. After many years of delays, Ariane 6 is scheduled to launch this summer, followed by the first commercial mission.

Another reason why the EU is resorting to such arrangements is the impossibility of using Russia’s Soyuz rocket because of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Diplomats speaking to Politico explained the terms of the agreement. It gives EU and European Space Agency (ESA) staff permanent access to the launch pad and the first right to retrieve and store the wreckage of a SpaceX rocket in the United States in the event of a malfunction.

The contract with SpaceX provides for two launches of the Galileo global navigation system satellites this year. They are to be sent to the United States on March 27. The first launch is to take place in the second half of April, and the second in July.

The text of the agreement states that personnel seconded by the EU or ESA must have access to “sensitive equipment and documentation” related to Galileo. In addition, the EU has the right to post guards to protect its equipment.