Europe’s plans to build a new high-power rocket for launching commercial (and scientific) satellites has moved closer with the finalised agreement for the creation of Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL).
The original ASL agreement was signed back in December 2014 but has since been beset by delays and squabbles amongst minority – but important – shareholders and smaller suppliers of components into the joint venture.
Those disagreements have now been resolved and June 30th will see the Airbus Safran Launchers j-v finalised with some 8400 employees in France and Germany, and with 11 subsidiaries and affiliates.
The plan is for the organisation to build and launch an all-new Ariane-6 rocket with test flights due in 2020.
The minority subsidiaries are APP, Arianespace, Cilas, Eurockot, Eurocryospace, Europropulsion, Nuclétudes, Pyroalliance, Regulus, Sodern and Starsem.
Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, said: “With the closing of this agreement, Airbus Safran Launchers becomes fully operational and will focus all its efforts on delivering more competitive solutions to its customers. Top of the list is the next generation Ariane 6 launcher, which is due to have its maiden flight as early as 2020.”
Philippe Petitcolin, CEO of Safran, said: “I would like to extend my warm thanks to our customers, partners, suppliers and, of course, our employees, for their support and trust during this process. Achieving such a radical transformation is a complex and challenging task. But it sets us firmly on the path to a more integrated, more efficient and more competitive European launcher industry.”
In order to obtain a 50 per cent stake in Airbus Safran Launchers, Safran will make an economic “equalisation” payment of €750 million.
Airbus is an aerospace giant with some 136,000 staff around the world. Safran is an aerospace, defence and security specialist with 70,000 staff.