Speaking at the CASBAA satellite convention in Singapore, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel said that its plans for a record launch of 14 rockets this year would fall short of expectations.
Israel said that the plans were not helped by a glitch in January this year which sent two satellites into the wrong orbit, and which created subsequent delays. A postponement of a planned launch in May also didn’t help.
He said that the 3 launches in the first-half of the year would be exceeded in the second half, and he now expected 11 launches overall for 2018. These would be a mix of commercial and government missions.
There might be a similar number of launches in 2019, but it was too early to give a definitive forecast, Israel said, adding the company was now focusing on gaining customers for the lower cost Ariane 6 rocket due to debut with a test flight in 2020.
Arch-rival SpaceX had already managed 11 launches this year to date.