Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

European satellite chief says industry faces challenges
by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) June 18, 2014

Europe's satellite launch industry needs to be overhauled to keep up with tough challenges from US rival SpaceX and other emerging competitors, the head of European satellite giant Arianespace has said.

While the United States and Russia have led the way in space exploration, Europe's satellite launch programme Ariane has been at the forefront of the industry since Arianespace was founded in 1980.

But Stephane Israel, chairman and chief executive of the France-based company, told AFP it's now time for a shape-up as new, fresher competitors come online.

Speaking on the sidelines of the CommunicAsia trade show in Singapore on Tuesday, he said: "We have a newcomer in America with SpaceX. Yes, competition is increasing, but when competition is increasing, we need to be more and more agile."

California-based SpaceX was founded in 2002 by US billionaire Elon Musk -- the man behind Tesla electric cars -- and made headlines in 2012 when it successfully launched an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station.

The firm offers Falcon rockets that can lift commercial satellites into orbit for $60 million -- half the cost if done with of the Ariane 5 rockets that are used to put into orbit satellites used for telecommunication, high definition TV broadcasts and Earth observation.

The emergence of SpaceX and its challenge to Arianespace's dominance has been compared by observers to the competition triggered by low-fare airlines that jolted more established premium carriers.

And the competition doesn't stop there, with Russia's Proton also in the wings, as well as firms from budding space-nations China, India and Japan, according to analysts.

- 'Europe will not give up' -

But Israel said: "We are the leader and the only question we should ask to ourselves is what should we do to remain the leader.

"Europe is very serious about launchers, and Europe will not give up when it comes to launchers."

Israel highlighted the news that Arianespace's two biggest shareholders, the Airbus Group and French engine maker Safran, had announced a joint venture in Paris on Monday.

The 50-50 venture will produce rocket launchers for commercial satellites to better compete with SpaceX.

"This is a significant move," Israel said in an interview. "It's a significant step. And I think it is the beginning of a refoundation of the launcher sector in Europe."

"I think it's just the beginning of an ambitious movement to reshuffle the Ariane sector," Israel said.

He added that said the venture would streamline Europe's rocket production process, improve decision-making and reduce costs.

"Obviously, when you have less layers you have less costs," he said.

While the current system is reliable, it is "too costly on the one end" and so cumbersome that "from time to time we lack some agility to react very quickly to competition".

Currently, national space agencies in Europe design the launchers, which are given to the Airbus Group to be manufactured. Arianespace markets the end product to customers worldwide.

Analysts said the Airbus Group-Safran joint venture would hopefully lead to the creation of a single entity that will handle the entire rocket manufacturing process.

The company's shareholders include public and private interests across 10 European countries, including the French space agency CNES and Airbus.

The European Space Agency will hold a ministerial-level meeting in December in Luxembourg to decide on the future of the Ariane 6 model, positioned as a low-cost answer to the Ariane 5 that it hopes to launch in 2021.

Israel said Europe stood ready to defend its leadership in an industry where it currently accounts for half of all commercial satellite launches globally, and 64 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Things are changing and we need to prepare for the future. We need to have the rocket for the next decade and the decade after," Israel said.


Related Links
Launch Pad at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Arianespace A World Leader In The Satellite Launch Market
Singapore (SPX) Jun 18, 2014
At CommunicAsia 2014 from June 17 to 20, Arianespace confirms its predominant position among satellite manufacturers and operators in the Asia-Pacific region with more than 60% market share. This year marks the 24th edition of CommunicAsia, an international trade show and exhibition for communications and information technologies. Held each year in Singapore, it draws industry professionals from ... read more

European satellite chief says industry faces challenges

Payload fueling begins for nexy Arianespace Soyuz flight

Arianespace A World Leader In The Satellite Launch Market

Airbus Group and Safran To Join Forces in Launcher Activities

NASA Invites Comment on Mars 2020 Environmental Impact Statement

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater

Discovery of Earth's Northernmost Perennial Spring

US Congress and Obama administration face obstacles in Mars 2030 project

NASA LRO's Moon As Art Collection Is Revealed

Solar photons drive water off the moon

55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

New evidence supporting moon formation via collision of 2 planets

The PI's Perspective - Childhood's End

Final Pre-Pluto Annual Checkout Begins

Hubble Begins Search Beyond Pluto For Potential Flyby Targets

Cracks in Pluto's Moon Could Indicate it Once Had an Underground Ocean

Mega-Earth in Draco Smashes Notions of Planetary Formation

Kepler space telescope ready to start new hunt for exoplanets

Astronomers Confounded By Massive Rocky World

Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

ULA Signs Multiple Contracts for Next-Gen Propulsion Work

Why We Need Rocket Engines

NASA again delays flying saucer test

Orion Ready To Feel The Heat

Chinese lunar rover alive but weak

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days

Moon rover Yutu comes closer to public

NASA's Swift Satellite Tallies Water Production of Mars-bound Comet

NASA Announces Latest Progress in Hunt for Asteroids

The Role Of Amateur Astronomers In Rosetta's Mission

Giant Telescopes Pair Up to Image Near-Earth Asteroid

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.