Eutelsat, based in Paris and their rivals SES, based in Luxemburg are certainly in competition with each other but they are in agreement on one issue: The industry needs options for rockets to launch their satellites, and these options should be multiple. In recent years the Proton rocket from Russia has been the launch industry’s main competitor to market leader Arianespace. Extra options are provided by Elon Musk’s USA-based SpaceX, which is increasing in popularity with many service providers. However, Proton’s recent technical issues combined with political and economic unrest due to the uneasy relationship with Russia have seen a decline in confidence in the Proton rocket.
At last week’s Paris Air Forum panel discussion, Michel de Rosen, the CEO of Eutelsat and his counterpart at SES, Karim Michel Sabbagh jointly agreed that the sector is in immediate need of more cost-effective and reliable launch operators.