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Because of SpaceX’s decision to delay its next launch into early January, Inmarsat today decided to switch launch companies for a mid-2017 satellite, dropping SpaceX and signing a contract with Arianespace.
Inmarsat is not abandoning SpaceX, only switching to Arianespace for one satellite. Nonetheless, this decision, coming only one day after SpaceX confirmed the delay, explains to me why SpaceX has been saying for months it intended to resume launches before the end of 2017. Inmarsat had probably told the company that if they delayed into January, they would lose this launch. When SpaceX finally admitted they couldn’t meet the 2016 launch deadline, Inmarsat made the switch.