Re: Arianespace - long term plan?
Falcon 9 is a medium rocket - LEO with apparently 16000 KG, while Ariane 5 is 21000 KG.
Ariane has done flights to GEO, and Geo transfer orbit - Falcon
Falcon 9 can now do a comparable weight - but only when the rocket is expended - which would drive up the cost...
Very few falcon 9's make it to GTO/GEO and be recovered- less than 5 tonnes (metric) seem to be the max i can do. Ariane can do around 10 tons GTO
Falcon Heavy can launch much more mass to LEO and still do recovery (in theory) - but has had only a few outings.
Falcon heavy has only 1 commercial (and 1 military) launch of sattelites to GTO to date, so metrics are hard on it at the moment.
At the moment, there is a market for Ariane 5.