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Ariane sees “demand surge” following SpaceX problem

The September 1st fireball catastrophe on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has, not surprisingly, meant an immediate boost for France’s Ariane 5 rocket launcher.

Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel told journalists at the Euroconsult Satellite Business Week event in Paris that there had been an increase in enquiries from clients about launch opportunities in 2017.

But Israel said that while one extra launch was a possibility in 2017 and 2018 they currently had 22 future missions with its Ariane 5 rocket, 24 aboard Soyuz rockets and 10 flights with the smaller Vega rocket.  He said that Arianespace was almost full up to 2018.

The enquiries are coming from would-be clients of SpaceX, and despite the positive words from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell at the Paris conference and saying that SpaceX should return to flight during November, there was anxiety by her clients that the fireball problem had still not been formally identified. The worry from satellite owners is that any problem might need a re-design of Falcon 9 and the consequent delays while modifications were made.

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