SINGAPORE --- Arianespace expects its satellite launches in 2018 to fall short of a record target, hobbled partly by a data glitch that sent a rocket off course earlier this year, the chief executive of the European company told Reuters on Wednesday.
The firm’s plans for record 14 launches suffered a setback when its Ariane 5 rocket deposited two satellites in the wrong orbit in January after being fed with incorrect data and an issue with satellite availability postponed a May takeoff.
Arianespace, majority-owned by a joint venture of Airbus (AIR.PA) and Safran (SAF.PA), has so far conducted only three launches, but expects a busier second half, CEO Stephane Israel said. He now expects around 11 satellite launches for the year.
There might be a similar number of launches in 2019, but it is too early to give a definitive forecast, Israel said, adding the company was now focusing on gaining customers for the lower cost Ariane 6 rocket due to debut in 2020. (end of excerpt)
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