Arianespace has received a launch order for the European Data Relay Service-C (EDRS-C) communications satellite from Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS). A formal contract was signed on 18 March 2015. The flight on an Ariane 5 ECA will take place in early 2017.
It was symptomatic of just how competitive SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) is with the pricing that the European space concern Airbus DS had previously been in negotiations to use the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch Europe’s EDRS-C. EDRS-C which employs laser communications technologies was part funded by Airbus DS.
Nevertheless after French political pressure was applied, Airbus DS was brought back into line, not least because it is a major contract for the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, the Falcon 9’s main competitor.