There is considerable commercial rivalry between the France-based Arianespace rocket system, and the US-based Space Exploration (SpaceX) rocket. France’s space minister Genevieve Fioraso has criticised SpaceX, saying it is all but “dumping” their rockets onto the commercial market.
The Minister’s rationale for her arguments is that SpaceX is being unfairly helped by the USA’s space agencies and their profitable government business. SpaceX, for example, supplies cargo runs to the International Space Station and has valuable NASA contracts to develop the next manned flight capsules and rockets.
“This competition, which just about constitutes dumping, is why France, with the coordination of the European Space Agency, has proposed a common Ariane 6 designed by agencies, industrial contractors and satellite operator customers,” said Fioraso, speaking at the 16th Interparliamentary Space Conference.
“The European launcher faces a very rough international competition, and it’s all the rougher because in the United States, for example, institutional backing and non-European rules allow launchers to be sold to government customers at a price that is twice as high as the vehicles sold at export,” Fioraso added.