Week Three: Ninth Anniversary Fund-Raising Drive for Behind the Black
It is now the third week in my annual anniversary fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black.
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Capitalism in space: Arianespace today announced it has won a new launch contract for two different satellites, bringing its launch manifest to 53.
The press release contains a lot of interesting tidbits:
- They plan to complete 11 launches in 2017, which is slightly above their yearly average in the past six years.
- In 2018 they presently have only 7 launches planned, the lowest number since 2013.
- Of the 53 launches, Ariane 5 will do 17, Soyuz 27, and Vega 9, suggesting a shift away from Ariane 5, which has been the company’s mainstay.
- The private joint partnership of Airbus and Safran, now called ArianeGroup, has taken control of the business, and has begun streamlining it.
- Arianespace has now been relegated to only handling “customer relations” and launch operations.
Overall, it looks like this European private/government partnership is doing reasonably well in the new very competitive launch market. I still expect their business to shrink in the coming years, but I think they will be around for awhile.