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[i]French Sen. Bruno Sido said to compare the SpaceX facility with the equivalent manufacturing operation of the Ariane 5 rocket, some of which is done in Les Mureaux, France, is to become fearful for the future of Europe’s launch vehicle autonomy.
“Visiting Les Mureaux is like entering an impressive laboratory,” Sido said in a press briefing here. “Visiting SpaceX, which occupies an old factory that once belonged to Boeing, is like entering IKEA. This company has already won many contracts, is well-supported by NASA and is building a low-cost launcher that constitutes a real and serious threat.”
He said Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket, which still needs 120 million euros ($160 million) per year in government support payments to maintain financial equilibrium, cannot suffer any loss of its current 50 percent share of the global commercial market.
...French Sen. Catherine Procaccia, who co-authored the report with Sido, said today’s Europe cannot afford to develop a more powerful Ariane 5, called Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (ME), and start development of Ariane 6 at the same time. She said Ariane 5 ME does not address the commercial-viability issues of the current Ariane 5.[/i]
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