Arianespace and the Russian-owned Sea Launch are seeking to get the restrictions against them removed so that they can sell their services to more customers.


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The competition heats up: Arianespace and the Russian-owned Sea Launch are seeking to get the restrictions against them removed so that they can sell their services to more customers.

Arianespace wants to sell its launch services to the U.S. government, something it is not allowed to do right now because of U.S. restrictions. These are the same kinds of restrictions that has prevented SpaceX from launching military satellites and which that company is now contesting.

Russia meanwhile wants to use Sea Launch for its own payloads, but because Sea Launch’s platform is based in California, the Russian government won’t allow their payloads on it because of security reasons. They want the platform moved to Russia so that they can use their own company to launch their own satellites.

The article also describes how Japan is trying to reduce the cost of its H-2A rocket by 50% so that it can become more competitive.

All in all, I would say that the arrival of SpaceX has done exactly what was predicted, shaken the industry out of its doldrums. How else to explain this sudden interest in open competition and lowering costs? These companies could have done this decades ago. They did not. Suddenly a new player arrives on the scene, offering to beat them at their own game. It is not surprising that they are fighting back.

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5 comments

  • S Cooper

    I’m thinking this is not the right time for Russia to ask a favor from the US.

  • The decision isn’t up to the U.S. Sea Launch is a private company, mostly owned by Russian companies. It will be up to them, though the Russian government can certainly apply a lot of pressure to them.

  • “. . . offering to beat them at their own game.”

    ‘Offering’? They’re doing it.

  • Pzatchok

    All Russia has to do is move Sea Launch over to Russia then they would have full and total control. Or they could just copy it.

    Its Russias rules that are stopping Russia from using it for their own launches.

  • Kelly Starks

    >..Japan is trying to reduce the cost of its H-2A rocket by 50% so that it can become more competitive.

    How reliable is the H-2? I worked with someone who was with a team reviewing Japans manned space efforts, and they were so bad the company decided they wanted nothing to do with them – so if they were that inept/careless in their manned program, what’s their unmanned like?

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