BREMEN, Germany (Reuters) – Ariane 6, Europe’s next-generation space rocket, is expected to win its first two commercial launch orders in coming weeks, company officials said, a key milestone as the European launcher vies for orders against Elon Musk’s U.S. competitor SpaceX.
Operator Arianespace faces increased competition from SpaceX and Blue Origin, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Japan and India also pose a growing challenge.
Ariane - Orders - Hand - Commission - France
Ariane 6 has three institutional orders in hand from the European Commission and France and is close to signing deals with two commercial customers, said Mathias Spude, spokesman for ArianeGroup, a joint venture of Airbus and Safran, that is the majority stakeholder in Arianespace.
ArianeGroup has invested 400 million euros of its own funds in the 3.4-billion-euro development of Ariane 6 – a project key to ensuring Europe’s independent access to space and a market valued at over $1 trillion by 2040.
Manufacturers - Rocket - Ariane - Missions - Satellites
Manufacturers say the rocket will be more versatile than Ariane 5, able to carry out missions from placing as many as 90 small satellites in low-earth orbit to taking classic spy satellites to far higher perches in geostationary orbit.
But the business case depends on drumming up enough commercial business to augment the 5-6 institutional launches expected in Europe annually in coming years, about a...
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