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Put this in its own topic instead of the space thread because it deserves its own discussion, and is darkly hilarious.

 

SpaceX and its low launch costs for the Falcon 9 have already been squeezing Russian launch providers and ULA out of the market. This will only get worse if the Block 5 Falcon 9 provides the advances in reusability that are promised (and if BFR lives up to Elon's dreams it will blow everything out of the water). European launch provider Arianespace has been feeling the heat too; their Ariane 5 is a reliable but dated (compared to Falcon) architecture, and the Ariane 6 is an incremental improvement at best, which lacks reusability (and uses a hydrolox/solid first stage for some reason).

 

The major German publication Der Spiegel  recently interviewed Alain Charmeau, the head of Arianespace; http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/alain-charmeau-die-amerikaner-wollen-europa-aus-dem-weltraum-kicken-a-1207322.html

 

An English summary/discussion can be found here; https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/ariane-chief-seems-frustrated-with-spacex-for-driving-down-launch-costs/

There are some choice quotes in that article;

 



"SpaceX is charging the US government 100 million dollar per launch, but launches for European customers are much cheaper."

 

Still cheaper than ULA. Also, US government payloads have more oversight/stricter requirements than commercial payloads, which drives up costs.

 

About two sentences later he admits that Arianespace couldn't exist without subsidies from European governments.

 

Next part;

 



During the interview, Charmeau also addressed reusability when the interviewer raised this as a possibility for lowering the cost of launch. In response, Charmeau asserts that the interviewer cannot know whether re-flying boosters is less expensive, as SpaceX claims. "How do you know that?" Charmeau asks. "Do you know their real cost structure?"

 

Obviously Elon Musk thinks it is, otherwise he wouldn't be telling his for-profit business to develop reusability. Also, considering that Falcon 9 (especially Block 5) isn't an utterly ridiculous architecture like STS, it's certainly cheaper to reuse.

 

Here's the real money quote;

 



"Let us say we had ten guaranteed launches per year in Europe and we had a rocket which we can use ten times—we would build exactly one rocket per year," he said. "That makes no sense. I cannot tell my teams: 'Goodbye, see you next year!'"

 

emot-qq.gif "My subsidized jobs program can't compete with SpaceX because they get government contracts!"

 

Still better than SLS though.

 

Also, Blue Origin is going to steal your identity;

 



"It is about future business," Charmeau said. "Why do all the billionaires invest in space? Why does Jeff Bezos come to Germany and declare that the country should not go to space? He makes money with your personal data. Today he knows your Amazon orders, tomorrow he drives your car."

 

 

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If it can force them to drive their price down (be it the ULA, Ariane espace or the russians) it will only be beneficial to everybody in the long run and facilitate space exploration.

 

While I agree with him that we should keep some independent launch capability for military satellites and might need to bail out Ariane espace with public money in the short term (at the very least to make sure that we don't lose the know-how), nothing wrong with a bit of competition to force them to adapt and use public money more efficiently.

 

If the price of launch goes down, we might see an increase of the number of launch per year which will make reusable rockets even more competitive.

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On 5/21/2018 at 4:22 PM, LostCosmonaut said:

Charmeau asserts that the interviewer cannot know whether re-flying boosters is less expensive, as SpaceX claims. "How do you know that?" Charmeau asks. "Do you know their real cost structure?"

 

Is this guy for real? Does he really think building and certifying a brand new booster is cheaper than re-using an old one that's already been built and certified?

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On 5/21/2018 at 6:24 PM, Alzoc said:

 

While I agree with him that we should keep some independent launch capability for military satellites and might need to bail out Ariane espace with public money in the short term (at the very least to make sure that we don't lose the know-how), nothing wrong with a bit of competition to force them to adapt and use public money more efficiently.

 

 

I also want Arianespace to stay in existence, because as you said, more competition is good, and Europe has done a lot of good in space, especially in the scientific arena. It's a shame their CEO seems determined not to do that.

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On 5/21/2018 at 6:24 PM, Alzoc said:

If it can force them to drive their price down (be it the ULA, Ariane espace or the russians) it will only be beneficial to everybody in the long run and facilitate space exploration.

 

While I agree with him that we should keep some independent launch capability for military satellites and might need to bail out Ariane espace with public money in the short term (at the very least to make sure that we don't lose the know-how), nothing wrong with a bit of competition to force them to adapt and use public money more efficiently.

 

If the price of launch goes down, we might see an increase of the number of launch per year which will make reusable rockets even more competitive.

 

I also want Arianespace to stay in existence, because as you said, more competition is good, and Europe has done a lot of good in space, especially in the scientific arena. It's a shame their CEO seems determined not to do that.

 

5 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

 

Is this guy for real? Does he really think building and certifying a brand new booster is cheaper than re-using an old one that's already been built and certified?

 

They probably did a quick calculation and determined it would be more expensive for them, without taking into account all the vertical integration SpaceX has, and that Falcon 9 has been designed for reusability from the outset. I'm sure if you tried jury-rig a stock Ariane 5 for reuse it'd be expensive as hell.

 

Or, his brain is damaged from all the fluoride Jeff Bezos is putting in his water.

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