While the Vega rocket is regarded as a reliable, if overpriced, launch vehicle system, it does give Italy an independent means of launching satellites should it ever wish to. As such, the Italian space industry and the Italian Space Agency are resisting attempts to consolidate all current launch vehicle construction under one company. Airbus-Safran Launchers wants to acquire the operation building Vega and the improved Vega C to streamline production and cut the cost of both them and the new Ariane 6 heavy lift rocket which uses the main solid rocket stage of Vega for its solid rocket boosters.
Vega is currently built by ELV, an Italian aerospace firm 70% majority owned by Avio which in turn is 85% owned by the private equity firm Cinven. The mooted proposal is that these shares would be acquired by Airbus-Safran Launchers.
The move will no doubt also be investigated by the European Commission which is already examining Airbus-Safran Launchers’ take over of Arianespace with the concern of the firm having market dominance. All this will be the first quandary for ESA’s new director of launchers, Daniel Neuenschwander.
Space News has the full story here: http://spacenews.com/58487-2/