The German Aerospace Center, DLR, conducted an analysis of Falcon 9 first-stage reuse and concluded that SpaceX could begin to realize significant cost savings with as few as 20-25 launches per year, lower than previous outside assessments. SpaceX has launched 16 times in 2017, likely will end 2017 near 20 missions and plans to increase the per-year rate in 2018 to about 30 and even more in 2010 and beyond.
* Germany is not as committed as France and Italy to Ariane
* Europe’s launch sector may not remain viable
Ariane will be doomed without EU government support
SpaceX is launching Germany’s three-satellite second-generation military radar satellite system, called SARah, in 2018 and 2019 on two Falcon 9 missions. The contract, awarded in 2013, was explained then as a special case given that Airbus had a long-standing SpaceX contract that could be leveraged for the SARah work at an unbeatable price. In 2017, SpaceX is ready to bid for Germany’s first optical reconnaissance system, an apparently three-satellite network to be owned by the German Federal Intelligence Service, BND. Germany has long complained that Europe’s rockets are overly dependent on subsidies and are still too expensive.
European governments are expected to decide on some sort of Buy European Act for launchers in mid-2018.
ArianeGroup Ariane 6 can be successful with five mid-size payloads and an average of six Ariane 6 commercial missions a year.