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The competition heats up: The merged Airbus/Safran rocket division has surprised the European Space Agency with a proposed new design for Ariane 6.
The Airbus-Safran proposal, if carried to its logical end, would mean a single company building Ariane vehicles, with fewer subcontractors and much less government oversight. It would likely mean the end of the CNES launcher division as industry takes more control of Ariane design and operations.
In other words, the contractors who build the rockets for ESA want more power over that construction. They want less government oversight, and more ownership of the rocket they build.
Sounds like what’s happening in the U.S., doesn’t it? Giving ownership to the rocket builders means they not only have more flexibility and thus can be more efficient, it makes it easier for them to innovate in both construction and sales.