It has been reported by Reuters that Arianespace has lowered the launch price of its mainstay Ariane 5 launch vehicle, in response to fierce competition in the Asia-Pacific region from industry disruptor SpaceX. The two companies are competing for two satellite launch contracts from the region. There are also expectations that a further three launch contracts will emerge after these initial two.
To compete more effectively against re-usable launch provider SpaceX, Arianespace has reportedly lowered the satellite launch cost on its Ariane 5 rocket to match what it expects to charge for the upcoming Ariane 6 rocket. The company has previously touted its aim for Ariane 6 launch contracts to be 40 per cent cheaper than the current Ariane 5.
Comment by Matthew Wilson: Seradata currently estimates that an Ariane 5 launch is sold for circa US$175m. A 40% reduction in this price (as claimed by Arianespace has for the Ariane 6) will see the remaining Ariane 5 launches priced at US$100-105m. At this new price point, the Upper Berth of the Ariane 5 – reserved for the larger payload – may be priced in the US$60-70m region (much closer to main competitor SpaceX), with the Lower Berth costing around US$40-45m.