Arianespace wants the U.S. market opened so that it can offer its launch vehicles to American customers.
Arianespace has called for an opening of the U.S. government market to international launch services competition, with the company ready to bid for such opportunities.
Speaking at the Satellite 2014 conference in Washington, D.C. today, Chairman & CEO Stéphane Israël said European governments have held competitions for civil and military satellites in which non-European launch services companies have openly competed and won contracts.
“Unfortunately, it is not completely open here in the United States – and Arianespace is fully ready to compete in the institutional markets everywhere – including the U.S.,” he said. “We are quite sure we would be in a position to offer the best solutions for customers and the taxpayers. And if it comes to a question of employment, we are ready to see how we can ‘Americanize’ our launcher.”
Israël noted that Arianespace continues to target a potential record number of missions in 2014 – with up to 12 missions involving its family of heavy-lift, medium and light-lift launchers. He underscored that each of these vehicles – the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega – are planned to handle both institutional and commercial launches during the year.
It’s not entirely clear how the Ariane 5 could be “Americanized” sufficiently to count as a domestic launch vehicle.