According to a report in French business newspaper Les Echos, SpaceX boss Elon Musk, has complained to Washington DC authorities about what he argues is “unfair competition” from Europe and its cash going to Arianespace.
Musk’s concern was submitted to Edward Gresser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Trade Policy and Economics, and says that the total value of subsidies awarded to Arianespace between 1988 and 2012 were worth €13.2 billion.
Jean-Yves Le Gall, head of the French government’s space agency CNES (and a former CEO at Arianespace) argued that Musk’s complaint should be filed away as “background noise” in the commercial battle of space exploration. “In terms of launching, remember that the Buy American Act exists, which prohibits every American operator from using foreign rockets if a satellite has 51 per cent of its components made in the USA,” he pointed out.
Musk’s SpaceX enjoys various NASA contracts including regular cargo missions to the International Space Station.