For customers stuck in a queue to launch their spacecraft on SpaceX Falcon 9, after the pad failure that lost AMOS-6, there is hope. But hope given by SpaceX’s competitors. While International Launch Services (ILS) has its own backlog to deal with after a launch failure, Arianespace has indicated that it will be in a position to offer one extra Ariane 5 ECA dual satellite rocket launch in 2017.

Atlas V 401 carries the Cygnus OA-6 cargo craft inside its fairing. Courtesy: ULA

Atlas V 401 carries the Cygnus OA-6 cargo craft inside its fairing. Courtesy: ULA

Similarly, the Boeing/Lockheed Martin-owned United Launch Alliance (ULA) has said there are some slots available in its schedule for launches on Atlas V. The specialist launch provider for US government missions, which had left its Lockheed Martin partner to do the marketing  for commercial flights, has announced a new “RapidLaunch” service with the aim of providing the fastest order-to-launch service in the business aboard Atlas V.