• Commercial launch service providers in 2014 booked 19 orders open to competitive bidding for satellites to launch into geostationary orbit.
  • Another eight satellites, including Indian and Chinese spacecraft, were booked, or soon will be, by national launch providers in deals for which no competitive bids were sought.
  • Another contract, for Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus space station supply freighter, was signed with United Launch Alliance after what Orbital said was a competitive bid evaluation process.
  • The most striking feature of the 2014 contract tally is the absence of Russian and Russian-Ukrainian launch service providers International Launch Services and Sea Launch AG. These companies’ vehicles have had reliability or supply chain issues. Both specialize in launching larger satellites, which were out of favor in 2014 — a year dominated by small and midsize spacecraft.
  • It remains to be seen whether the sharp decline in the Russian ruble in 2014 can be used by ILS and Sea Launch to regain market share by bidding for satellites that otherwise would be viewed as too small for their vehicles.


Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.