Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The competition heats up: As a result of lowering its prices to compete with SpaceX, Arianespace on Monday announced four new launch contracts for lighter weight commercial satellites.
At a press briefing here during the World Satellite Business Week conference, organized by Euroconsult, Arianespace said the contracts illustrate the company’s ability to win business in head-to-head competition with what has become its principal competitor, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and the Falcon 9 rocket. Individual satellite operators choose satellite and rocket suppliers using a range of criteria including schedule, price, recent launch record and export credit-agency financing.
It was not immediately clear how many of the latest satellite wins for Arianespace followed competitions in which SpaceX offered bids compatible with customer specifications and still lost.
These satellites will be launched in the lower berth of the Ariane 5 rocket, which launches two satellites with each launch. Thus, these contracts — while encouraging for Arianespace — still leave the company with the need to find customers to fill that upper berth.