Author Topic: Ariane 6 Discussion Thread: Place Your Ariane 6 Discussions Here  (Read 929916 times)

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
« Last Edit: 12/06/2023 10:44 am by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline woods170

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Does anyone know which Ariane 6 contractor(s) is (are) meant here?

Quote
.@CNES, @esa to #Ariane6 contractors: Price gouging will be found out, audited and rejected. You agreed to an average 11% price cut. That starts now.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/1730229331115303332

I love the thought/attitude but it's hard to believe when there's a loooong history of capitulation on exactly this. Part of the problem with uncompetitive public procurement markets. What are they going to do if the contractors say "no, the price is the price, take it or leave it!"? Are they willing to wait, thus delaying A6 even further, for an alternative supplier? The home country of the supplier might even have a fit. This has always been the trouble of space unfortunately, until recently there was never any sort of competition within a political/sovereign territory to provide space services, it was either full on government or just one or two contractors. Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Emphasis mine.

IMO one absolute requirement to pull-off a Euro COTS successfully, is to do away with "juste retour" (geo return). Only when companies from multiple countries compete with each other for ESA's Euros, will prices go down.

Unfortunately, the way ESA is structured, doing away with "juste retour" is virtually impossible without severe repercussions to ESA's budget. It would be reduced to only the larger ones still contributing. All the smaller contributors would bail out.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

To put a finer point on it, how can Ariane 6 compete against the marginal launch cost of a rocket family that plans to fly once a day in a couple of years?

Offline Asteroza

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Does anyone know which Ariane 6 contractor(s) is (are) meant here?

Quote
.@CNES, @esa to #Ariane6 contractors: Price gouging will be found out, audited and rejected. You agreed to an average 11% price cut. That starts now.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/1730229331115303332

I love the thought/attitude but it's hard to believe when there's a loooong history of capitulation on exactly this. Part of the problem with uncompetitive public procurement markets. What are they going to do if the contractors say "no, the price is the price, take it or leave it!"? Are they willing to wait, thus delaying A6 even further, for an alternative supplier? The home country of the supplier might even have a fit. This has always been the trouble of space unfortunately, until recently there was never any sort of competition within a political/sovereign territory to provide space services, it was either full on government or just one or two contractors. Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Emphasis mine.

IMO one absolute requirement to pull-off a Euro COTS successfully, is to do away with "juste retour" (geo return). Only when companies from multiple countries compete with each other for ESA's Euros, will prices go down.

Unfortunately, the way ESA is structured, doing away with "juste retour" is virtually impossible without severe repercussions to ESA's budget. It would be reduced to only the larger ones still contributing. All the smaller contributors would bail out.

This seems to echo NASA as well, with their development/budgeting purposely being split to the various regional NASA centers who are guarded by their respective representatives in the US congress, leading to workforce maintenance being a major objective, rather than other goals.

The US having multiple launch providers in the same class seems as much luck as much as the economics of having sufficient payload demand to sustain at least 2 launchers per major class type, but even there we saw consolidation leading to duopolies/near monopolies. Does europe really generate sufficient payloads to ultimately support a healthy multi-provider domestic ecosystem? If OneWeb had been locked into EU launch (a partial form of geo-return),  that might have accelerated the development of a healthy COTS ecosystem.

If you look at it from a different perspective, the necessary anchor customer payload mass to sustain a COTS ecosystem seems to also stem primarily (in whole or part) from the same nations that possess nuclear weapons, thus the UK and France. This natural duopoly circumstance, with Germany and Italy struggling to be relevant, would seem to suggest the source of a commercial duopoly to support a healthy COTS ecosystem is by definition primarily limited to the UK and France. Whether Brexit actually helps or hurts this situation (turning the duopoly into UK or EU) is certainly debatable.

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
If I am one of a handful of widget suppliers in the world but I have an innovative way to produce a widget for $20M while the cost to my competition is $60M and they like having a 50% profit margin so they charge their customers $90M for a widget, what price do you think I will sell a widget to customers for?

A) $30M (50% profit on my $20M cost)

or

B) $89.99M (one dollar less than my competition and a healthy 350% profit)


Never mind that in this case SpaceX's competition literally doesn't have a product available at the moment.

My guess is SpaceX offered what they believed to be the maximum amount Thierry Breton was willing to stomach without simply walking away and risking reputational damage from a degradation in Galileo service by waiting for a functional European launcher.

Offline Zed_Noir

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
Ain't you forgetting the subsidies that Arianespace want to increase to €350M from €110M annually just for the Ariane 6. Plus national security missions always cost more than the listed price. Also why bring up the Soyuz-ST, since it is no longer under consideration for Western payloads now and in the future.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2023 03:25 pm by Zed_Noir »

Online DanClemmensen

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If I am one of a handful of widget suppliers in the world but I have an innovative way to produce a widget for $20M while the cost to my competition is $60M and they like having a 50% profit margin so they charge their customers $90M for a widget, what price do you think I will sell a widget to customers for?

A) $30M (50% profit on my $20M cost)

or

B) $89.99M (one dollar less than my competition and a healthy 350% profit)


Never mind that in this case SpaceX's competition literally doesn't have a product available at the moment.

My guess is SpaceX offered what they believed to be the maximum amount Thierry Breton was willing to stomach without simply walking away and risking reputational damage from a degradation in Galileo service by waiting for a functional European launcher.
I agree in principle, but we don't really know the details. Complex (and expensive) payloads often have specialized handling requirements, so unless we could look at the actual contracts, we don't know everything that the $192 million covers. The customer may be getting a reasonably good price for what they require.

Offline ZachF

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
Ain't you forgetting the subsidies that Arianespace want to increase to €350M from €110M annually just for the Ariane 6. Plus national security missions always cost more than the listed price. Also why bring up the Soyuz-ST, since it is no under consideration for Western payloads now and in the future.

€350m a year on top of €4 billion in development costs already paid. If A6 launches 100x in 10 years that would be ~$80m *per launch* in just subsidies… that’s more than the ENTIRE price of an F9 launch, and it still isn’t competitive!

« Last Edit: 12/07/2023 12:51 pm by ZachF »
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Offline woods170

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
Ain't you forgetting the subsidies that Arianespace want to increase to €350M from €110M annually just for the Ariane 6. Plus national security missions always cost more than the listed price. Also why bring up the Soyuz-ST, since it is no under consideration for Western payloads now and in the future.

€350m a year on top of €4 billion in development costs already paid. If A6 launches 100x in 10 years that would be ~$80m *per launch* in just subsidies… that’s more than the ENTIRE price of an F9 launch, and it still isn’t competitive!

Wrong. It would be Euro 35M in subsidies per launch. You can't add to the equation the Euro 4B in development funding. You see, that's sunk cost. And adding that to the PER LAUNCH cost equation would be you stepping into the sunk cost fallacy. That is because that Euro 4B is gone, regardless of Ariane 6 launching 100 times or just 1 time.

Offline ZachF

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......Europe desperately needs to emulate COTS to jump start its nascent "New Space"/private companies and entrepreneurs into competition.

Sadly, the window for Europe to have it's own "New Space" as part of the future space launch provider market have passed.

Much more important for Europe now is getting Ariane 64 operational as quickly as possible. It is the only somewhat viable near future commercial launcher for Europe.

The less capable Ariane 62 and Vega-C/E have price themselves out of the future commercial market.

Unless the current leading launch provider falters badly. There will be no major commercial competitors for the foreseeable future, IMO.

Emphasis are mine. Time to back up this statement with launch service cost information. ...
I agree Ariane 62 will be expansive, but for  Vega C/E this remains to be seen.

Let's quote spacenews: EU finalizing contract with SpaceX for Galileo launches
Quote
...
In press briefings during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, Nov. 7, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Commission, said he was “finalizing the discussions” for a pair of Falcon 9 launches, each carrying two Galileo satellites, tentatively scheduled for April and July of 2024.
...
He said the European Commission would spend 180 million euros ($192 million) on the Falcon 9 launches.

Yes that's 90mln for each Falcon 9 launch.
That's the same as Ariane 62 had promised to cost, but it might cost 40% more.
The 75mln for a Soyuz-ST launch is significantly less, and the Vega C/E cost of <40mln ....
So present actual launch contract data before stating these claims about launchers being not competitive again.
Ain't you forgetting the subsidies that Arianespace want to increase to €350M from €110M annually just for the Ariane 6. Plus national security missions always cost more than the listed price. Also why bring up the Soyuz-ST, since it is no under consideration for Western payloads now and in the future.

€350m a year on top of €4 billion in development costs already paid. If A6 launches 100x in 10 years that would be ~$80m *per launch* in just subsidies… that’s more than the ENTIRE price of an F9 launch, and it still isn’t competitive!

Wrong. It would be Euro 35M in subsidies per launch. You can't add to the equation the Euro 4B in development funding. You see, that's sunk cost. And adding that to the PER LAUNCH cost equation would be you stepping into the sunk cost fallacy. That is because that Euro 4B is gone, regardless of Ariane 6 launching 100 times or just 1 time.

Getting your entire development paid for by public funds IS a form of subsidy.
artist, so take opinions expressed above with a well-rendered grain of salt...
https://www.instagram.com/artzf/

Offline DeimosDream

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If I am one of a handful of widget suppliers in the world but I have an innovative way to produce a widget for $20M while the cost to my competition is $60M and they like having a 50% profit margin so they charge their customers $90M for a widget, what price do you think I will sell a widget to customers for?

A) $30M (50% profit on my $20M cost)

or

B) $89.99M (one dollar less than my competition and a healthy 350% profit)


Never mind that in this case SpaceX's competition literally doesn't have a product available at the moment.

My guess is SpaceX offered what they believed to be the maximum amount Thierry Breton was willing to stomach without simply walking away and risking reputational damage from a degradation in Galileo service by waiting for a functional European launcher.
I agree in principle, but we don't really know the details. Complex (and expensive) payloads often have specialized handling requirements, so unless we could look at the actual contracts, we don't know everything that the $192 million covers. The customer may be getting a reasonably good price for what they require.

Do we know if the F9 Galileo flights will be ASDS recovery or expended? I know F9-ASDS is superior up through GTO, but if A62 can deliver a direct to MEO payload that would require F9(expended) then Ariane might be able to claim to be competitive for that niche (ignoring subsidies).

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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The point I wanted to make is that there isn't enough information to back claims about launch service costs.
It's possible SpaceX sells commercial launches for a price for the launch service and a Starlink launch.
I have not seen a SpaceX launch service contract for less than 90mln per launch.

We are in the Ariane 6 discussion topic. AFAIK the three reasons for the current Ariane 6 design are.
- No new engine availability other than Vince, because of low funding between 2010 and 2016, the combination of Bank and Euro crisis.
- Soyuz-ST got really expansive at >75mln per launch where they initially thought ~60mln.
- Ariane 5 wasn't flexible, for Ariane 5ME (implementation of Vince in the upper stage) very extensive and expansive modifications were required. And Ariane 5ME would be a very heavy >20mT to LEO / >10mT to GTO launcher.

The Ariane 6 is completely developed with public funding, hardly any commercial funding went into it. And that is the real problem that needs to be tackled. ArianeGroup is also the Group of companies manufacturing the majority of Ariane 6 components. It's old space. Georeturn is required because there is/was hardly any commercial funding for launchers. The mayor ESA memberstates France, Germany, Italy and the UK don't provide enough public funding for the development of a launcher, so the smaller memberstates are needed to contribute. And rightfully they demand work packages in return. This is the Geo return.
I could describe the case of Airbus Defence and Space the Netherlands.

I'm mordicus against the huge, up to 350mln annual public funding to . I much rather have realistic priced Ariane 6 launch services that cover the cost. I much rather have Ariane 62 costing >120mln per launch and the public funding going to technology development that could eventually bring ArianeNext to market. Than the Ariane 62 launching for 90mln and the public funding being wasted on making Ariane 6 barely cost competitive.
This hides the inferiority of the Ariane6. It consumes the funding needed for the launcher revolution.

I see a path towards launchers being competative with SpaceX Falcon 9, Rocketlab Neutron, NGIS/Firefly Antares 300/ NGL and/or Relativity Terran R. But this won't be ready before the 2030's, and with the huge annual public funding for Ariane 6 this will be later.
 

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Ariane 5 ES Galileo could launch those 4 Galileo Gen 1 satellites on a single launch, that would have cost ~150mln.
But the Ariane 5 ES was taken out of production already in 2016.
For Galileo launches I think Ariane 6 would also mayorly benefit from the Astris Kick stage. I think Ariane 62 with the Astris kick stage could also launch four gen 1 satellites.
Sorry but SpaceX falcon 9 is actually unsuited for the Galileo launches. It's outperformed by the Soyuz ST on this mission. The huge mass of the upper stage is a huge disadvantage, and will cause a giant space debris item.
Also Falcon 9 would benefit mayorly by a kick stage for this mission type. Instead of launching the 2x 750kg Galileo satellites with the ~4mT empty mass of the second stage to MEO. Falcon 9 FT could launch 4x 750kg satellites + ~1000kg kickstage to a MTO (MEO trajectory orbit ~23200 x 600km 56deg. inclination). The kick stage would circularize the orbit (@23222 km altitude 56deg. inclination), afterwards the satellites deploy. The kick stage might even have enough capability to deorbit, and otherwise it's a <250kg instead of ~4mT item of space debris.
The Gallileo system urgently needs replacement satellites, the >30mln higher launch service cost by opting for the SpaceX Falcon 9 is well worth it. This just shown who much the European launch industry has let down the European space program. These launches were planned for Ariane 62 (without Astris) with Soyuz-ST as backup.
 :-X :-[ :'(

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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A French aerospace forum posted an English transcript of an interview that CEO of Safran gave to French media in the last day or so (Challenges.fr). The topics were wide ranging but below is a part where he touched upon the topic of Ariane 6 in relation to ballooning costs from suppliers that the Peter B Deseldig tweet was about a few posts up). I gotta say this man has an alternative history of how Ariane responsibilities became Safran's and his comments about specific subcontractors is like pouring gasoline on an existing dumpster fire, I don't see how in the world this won't make cooperation even more contentious and dysfunctional. Without further ado, here's Safran CEO, Olivier Andries.

==================================

The "Seven Mercenaries of Space"

A few minutes later, it was the turn of the Ariane 6 subcontractors to be scattered "like a puzzle". What for? The head of Safran has little taste for the permanent music within the space microcosm about the lack of competitiveness of ArianeGroup, the prime contractor for the Ariane rockets co-owned 50-50 by Safran and Airbus. Admittedly, the Member States of the ESA (European Space Agency) had to agree, at the last ministerial summit in Seville in November, an annual subsidy of 340 million euros to ArianeGroup to ensure the economic balance of Ariane 6. This is yet another blow to the original contract, which provided for the end of all operational support for the new European heavy launcher. But ArianeGroup is far from being the only one responsible, according to Olivier Andriès.

"The problem with Ariane 6 is that it was launched in 2014 in a hybrid mode: industry has taken control of development, but ESA member states have maintained the principle of geographical return (according to which a state receives an industrial burden proportional to its investment). The reality today is that the subcontractors have been imposed on ArianeGroup by their countries, and that these partners hide behind the geographical return in order not to make any effort to be competitive. »

He is asked for names. The Safran boss is quick to point to Germany's OHB-System, Switzerland's Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG) and Sweden's GKN Aerospace Sweden. "There are seven of them, I call them the 'Magnificent Seven'. Some were calling for price increases of 50 to 60% in 2022, under the pretext of offsetting inflation, which was truly delusional. ESA has been asked to impose cost cuts, but some countries, such as Germany, are balking.

==================================

Offline woods170

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€350m a year on top of €4 billion in development costs already paid. If A6 launches 100x in 10 years that would be ~$80m *per launch* in just subsidies… that’s more than the ENTIRE price of an F9 launch, and it still isn’t competitive!

Wrong. It would be Euro 35M in subsidies per launch. You can't add to the equation the Euro 4B in development funding. You see, that's sunk cost. And adding that to the PER LAUNCH cost equation would be you stepping into the sunk cost fallacy. That is because that Euro 4B is gone, regardless of Ariane 6 launching 100 times or just 1 time.

Getting your entire development paid for by public funds IS a form of subsidy.

No, it isn't. It is not a subsidy, because ESA is the main customer of Ariane, due to the "assured independent access to space" requirement. Without ESA requiring a launcher, none of the Ariane vehicles would have ever existed. ESA paying for the vast majority of Ariane 6 development is no different than NASA paying for the vast majority of Space Shuttle development.

Even if Ariane would have never launched commercial payloads, an Ariane launcher would have existed anyway, to serve ESA's "assured independent access to space" needs.
That particularly applies to Ariane 6: it is totally non-competitive in a world ruled by SpaceX. But despite this, ESA invested Euro 4.5B in Ariane 6 development. And on top of that ESA agreed to pay Euro 350M annually, to cover its operational costs.

Have you never wondered WHY ESA would be willing to do that?

It's not because they want Arianespace to be able to compete with SpaceX. ESA d*mn well knows that Arianespace is incapable of doing so. The reason ESA coughs up all that money is because they don't ever want Europe to be blackmailed by the USA again, like they were in the early 1970s with the Intelsat-Symphonie story.

Only when you have fully read and learned about what happened back in the 1970s, including the loss of two early European satellites in U.S. launch vehicle failures, will you be able to understand why ESA's "assured independent access to space" requirement exists and why it is one of the corner stones of ESA policy-making. Only when you have fully grasped THAT, will you be able to understand why ESA is willing to invest billions of Euros in a launcher that will never be profitable.

And ESA doing so is not a new thing. It has happened before: Ariane 5 was never profitable. Yet ESA kept that launcher going for over 25 years. Because no matter how operations and formal ownership are structured, Ariane is ESA's launcher first and a commercial launcher second.


(and that's something that Americans usually are incapable of wrapping their heads around)
« Last Edit: 12/08/2023 07:40 am by woods170 »

Offline RedLineTrain

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It's not because they want Arianespace to be able to compete with SpaceX. ESA d*mn well knows that Arianespace is incapable of doing so. The reason ESA coughs up all that money is because they don't ever want Europe to be blackmailed by the USA again, like they were in the early 1970s with the Intelsat-Symphonie story.

Ariane 6 is at best only an expensive, small shield against being blackmailed by the USA (or SpaceX if they would ever wish to cause problems), given today's and tomorrow's payloads.

Europe with regard to payloads is like Rip Van Winkle, who falls asleep and wakes up 20 years later to a different world.  The only cold comfort Europe may have is that there's lots of inertia on payloads in the US too.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2023 03:26 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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That Safran CEO is blaming all others that the Arianegroup owning companies.
But AFAIK Ruag/Beyond Gravity (payload fairings), OHB (tank structures) and GKN Aerospace (Vulcain nozzle, and vulcain and Vince turbines) had their production in order to deliver the initial 15 launchers between 2020 and 2023. They had a steady demand for work on Ariane 5. Because of the delays in Ariane 6 development they had to stand down production for several years. Those sunken cost have to be recovered, thus huge price increases. This is commercially justified!
Arianegroup broke production contract, they didn't take delivery of products the ordered.
Arianegroup together with ESA requested subcontractors to deliver 15 launchers between 2020 and 2023. All of this production demand has been pushed to the 2024 to 2026 period. So
In my opinion the companies; that planned to implement immature technologies and didn't develop and deliver the work packages on time, should cover the cost of the three year production interruption. I expect this to be a bill with nine figures. Because of the hybrid contract, the main contractor (ArianeGroup) is spared from paying this huge bill.
 
I think the real problem was an unrealistic schedule for the Ariane 6 development. (that was a decision by ESA and Arianegroup). As a result new factories were build in a hurry, making them more expansive to construct. (That's the sunken ~4*10^9 Euro Ariane 6 development cost.)
Some of the Arianegroup companies failed to deliver on the production and development of the launcher components. (the upper stage unbiblical arm design issue. the MANG fluid quick disconnects, etz.)
Besides the launcher hardware issues; the software development was really slow. And the launch zone and the upper-stage test bench in Germany were ready very late. (the real reasons for the 4year development delay have not been made public, and this costs the European tax payer 0.7 to 1.5 billion.)

In my opinion; it could be justified that ESA memberstate cover the cost to maintain the CSG launch range. AFAIK the USAF covers this for the USA launch zones. But I think that would cost less than the up to 350mln annual public contribution to maintain Ariane6 launch capability. I fear several Ariane 6 launch contracts have already been sold below launch service cost, so at a loss to Arianegroup. (ArianeGroup pays the subcontractors for their work-packages).

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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If and when Airbus and or Safran get the ambition to roll out a LEO comsat constellation, they might fund the development of a ArianeNext themselves. But currently the risks are to high for this. The businesscase for LEO comsat constellations has not been proven.  Arianegroup requires flight certified engines before they can commit to start development of ArianeNext.
The Ariane 6 PPH design wouldn't have had further growth potential. The current Ariane 6 PHH design has growth potential; further improvements can be gradually implemented.

There are already three funded improvements:
- The enlargement of the P120C solid rocket motor boosters into the P160C.
- A weight reduced upperstage by replacing the aluminium tank structures by composite tank structures. ICARUS
- The in orbit kick-stage Astris.

Offline freddo411

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...

The businesscase for LEO comsat constellations has not been proven. 

...

SpaceX runs a profitable business providing high speed, low latency global internet access to about 2 million customers.   It's called Starlink.   You should check it out.

Also Iridium has been around a long time, and is currently profitable.

Offline edkyle99

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...

The businesscase for LEO comsat constellations has not been proven. 

...

SpaceX runs a profitable business providing high speed, low latency global internet access to about 2 million customers.   It's called Starlink.   You should check it out.

Also Iridium has been around a long time, and is currently profitable.
News reports say Starlink has fallen short of projections (2 million subscribers but they wanted 20 million) and Elon Musk only said that it had “achieved breakeven cash flow" only recently, whatever that means.  It lost money in 2022 on $1.2 billion revenue.  There have been 61 Starlink launches this year so far this year.  Even with reuse that is a big chunk of change.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/10/2023 04:08 pm by edkyle99 »

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