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PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Aerospace groups Airbus and Safran formally inaugurated a joint venture to pool their space launcher activities on Wednesday, aiming to secure the future of the Ariane rocket and cut costs in the face of U.S. launch rival SpaceX.
The announcement came after 20 European nations agreed at ministerial talks in Luxembourg to launch the Ariane 6 in 2020.
It follows conditional approval for the planned venture from European Union anti-trust regulators last week.
The venture will employ 450 people and will be called Airbus Safran Launchers, the companies said in a joint statement. It will officially start business on Jan. 1.
Reporting by Tim Hepher, editing by Louise Heavens