Head over heels: UK government infatuation with rockets is not a business plan

by Peter B. de Selding

FARNBOROUGH, England — This year’s Farnborough International Airshow was a Mardi Gras celebration of Britain’s promised rocket-launch industry. But beyond the conga line of happy government and industry officials were a few people warning of a long Lent.

The record of companies making a business out of launching rockets without a large domestic government customer either committed or at the ready is not good. Nor is the current competitive landscape, where multiple small-satellite-dedicated rockets are in the design phase, and where larger vehicles are creating tailored small-satellite offers.

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