WASHINGTON, DC—SatMagazine, an affiliate of Satnews, has published David Vaccaro’s article “Dual Trends in the European Space Industry: Consolidation + Dispersion” in its September edition. In it, David highlights the future of the flagship Ariane launch vehicle as a major force for change within the European and British Space industry.
These two trends, consolidation and dispersion, are interacting in nuanced ways; while they may offset each other in particular countries or regions, they are not necessarily in opposition.”The current Ariane 5 faces price competition from SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Looking forward, the Ariane 5 Mid-Life Evolution will yield a 20% increase over current payload capacity—but the European Space Agency (ESA) is considering whether to continue funding it, or to fund the Ariane 6, with its markedly different design from the Ariane 5. This uncertainty has prompted consolidation in the European launch sector; Airbus and Safran have joined forces to integrate their launch design capabilities and propulsion expertise, respectively. However, the consolidation trend this partnership represents is occurring alongside another key trend in the European Space market; national space initiatives with human capital development, and technological advancement as primary considerations for individual countries. From the UK Space Agency, to Belgium’s Skywin, “at least 10 such entities have been created across Europe since 2000, several of them in Central and Eastern Europe.” The interplay between these two trends will force companies to both update their business models and take a broader range of actors and market forces into account.
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