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Arianespace plans changes to regain profitability
Posted: Wed, Oct 16, 2002, 8:04 AM ET (1204 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch on Flight 145 (ESA) French launch services provider Arianespace announced a series of changes on Monday in an effort to become profitable again. Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said that the company will seek to reduce the number of contractors involved with the assembly of Ariane 5 boosters and transfer more responsibility to the remaining contractors, allowing Arianespace to reduce the number employees that supervise contractors. The company plans to provide only one model of Ariane 5 in the near future, the ESC-A, which can place 10 tonnes into geosycnhronous transfer orbit; the first launch of the Ariane 5 ESC-A is planned for November. Arianespace also plans to ask ESA to pay part of the cost of operating the Kourou launch site. Arianespace hopes that changes will help the company eliminate its losses, which have run at $200 million or more a year the past two years. Le Gall said that price pressures, caused by an oversupply of launch vehicles worldwide, have prevented the company from charging enough to cover the $200 million each Ariane 5 costs. A new batch of 30 Ariane 5 boosters, to be ordered later this year, should cost half as much to make.
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