WASHINGTON — Problems with satellite programs forced Airbus to take 600 million euros ($650 million) in charges in 2023.

The company announced the charges, 200 million euros higher than previously reported, in the company’s 2023 financial results released Feb. 15. “They account for revised timelines, they account for better cost estimates, as well as for the reassessment of the commercial risk and also the opportunities that we have,” said Thomas Toepfer, Airbus chief financial officer, at a briefing about the results.

He did not elaborate on the specific issues that caused the charges but suggested that the company had at least a better understanding of the problems. “While I would say that this high-tech business always carries some risk, we have now a balanced assessment of the business in our accounts.”

Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus, also avoided going into details about problems with space programs. “It’s been a bumpy ride in 2023,” he said, attributing the charges to “too-optimistic assumptions” on long-term programs that forced the company to revise costs. “We came to the conclusion that we had to rebaseline or put charges to reflect better what we think is ahead of us.”

“If you look at the overall charges that we took for the space programs, it’s really a mixed bag of many, many things,” Toepfer said. That included, he said, issues with suppliers keeping up with Airbus plans as well as internal issues within Airbus.

One program that contributed to the charges is OneSat, a new line of geostationary orbit communications satellites with software-defined payloads. Faury acknowledged the company took charges “big time” on OneSat but did not disclose how much of the 600 million euros in charges in 2023 were attributed to that program.

“We remain committed to the program. It’s a fantastic platform,” he said. “We will keep moving with this program, for which we have already taken customer commitments for, as far I remember, slightly less than 10 satellites, with more to come.”

The latest order for a OneSat satellite was from Thaicom in September, which Airbus said at the time was the ninth order for that line of satellites. Other customers include Intelsat, Optus, Sky Perfect JSAT, Viasat by way of its acquisition of Inmarsat, and one undisclosed customer.

Faury also said that Airbus was still studying whether and how to replace two of its Pléiades Neo high-resolution imaging satellites. Those spacecraft were lost in the December 2022 Vega-C launch failure. Airbus currently operates two Pléiades Neo satellites launched in 2021, providing images at resolutions as sharp as 30 centimeters.

“There’s a strong demand for the images from Pléiades Neo,” he said. “We are considering replacing — partially, completely — the lost capacity of the last two Pléiades Neo satellites that were lost, but we have not yet decided on which of the scenarios” the company will take to replace that capacity.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...