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The competition is burning them up! With Germany and France unable to come to an agreement about the next Arianespace commercial rocket, the company is considering cancelling a December conference that was supposed to settle the issue.
The basic division remains despite the German government’s alignment with the French view that Europe needs a lower-cost rocket to maintain its viability in the commercial market — which in turn provides European governments with a viable launch industry.
Despite the consensus over the longer term, the two sides remain split on whether European Space Agency governments should spend 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to complete work on a new upper stage for the existing Ariane 5 rocket, which could fly in 2018-2019, or abandon the upgrade to focus spending on a new Ariane 6 rocket, whose development would cost upwards of 3 billion euros over 7-8 years. [emphasis mine]
Though SpaceX is not mentioned in this particular article, numerous previous articles on this subject (such as this one) have made it very clear that it is SpaceX’s low prices that are driving the need for Arianespace to cut costs. The problem, as this article makes very clear, is that Arianespace’s partners can’t figure out how to do it, at least in a manner that will still provide them all an acceptable share in the pie. The result might be that the entire partnership falls apart.