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The competition heats up: This week’s launch failure of the Proton rocket leaves two satellite communications firms in a quandary.
Luxembourg-based SES joins London-based Inmarsat among the commercial customers awaiting Proton launches later this year, a prospect that almost certainly disappeared in the fireball that engulfed Proton shortly after liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Inmarsat’s entire next-generation high-speed mobile communications product offer is booked on three Proton launches.
It appears that their only other launch options are Arianespace, which is booked up, and SpaceX, which is not yet ready to take on this much new business.
In other words, the launch industry has a need for more launchers from companies willing to compete for that business.
Update: Arianespace has said that if they get the orders quickly, they might be able to fit the launch’s into their 2014 launch manifest. That has the sound of a company that wants to make money, and is willing to do whatever it takes to capture the business.