Three competitive launch service providers are following the Lockheed Martin-led International Launch Services' formal arrangement of offering alternative launchers, the Atlas or Proton, to meet customers' launch demands.

Arianespace, Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi are considering an informal arrangement under which a customer could switch to one of two alternative launch providers if, for example, technical problems with a launcher delayed a launch.

Arianespace's Ariane 5, the Boeing-led Sea Launch Zenit 3SL and the Japanese H2A operated by Mitsubishi will be part of the service. This form of co-operative arrangement is not new but the formalising of it would be.

Source: Flight Daily News