About Arianespace

Milestones

Since its creation in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has led the launch services industry with many operational firsts and numerous record-setting missions.

2014

  • July 29 – On Ariane Flight VA219, Arianespace carries out its 60th consecutive successful mission with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 workhorse, lofting the fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle for the European Space Agency. This spacecraft – with a mass of more than 20 metric tons at liftoff – is also the heaviest payload ever launched by Europe.

  • April 29 – Arianespace’s fourth mission in 2014 – Vega Flight VV03, which delivered the Republic of Kazakhstan’s first Earth observation satellite to Sun-synchronous orbit – puts Arianespace on track for a record 12 launches to be performed during the year.

  • February 6 – Arianespace performs the 250th launch with its complete launcher family of Vega, Soyuz and Ariane-series vehicles. This milestone Ariane 5 liftoff (Flight VA217) successfully orbits ABS-2 for global satellite operator ABS and the French-Italian Athena-Fidus spacecraft.

  • January 7 – Arianespace announces its results for 2013, during which the company logged an unprecedented order intake of 18 launch contracts worth €1.4 billion, providing an overall record business backlog valued at €4.3 billion and equal to more than three years of launches.

2013

  • December 19 – Soyuz Flight V06 orbits the European Space Agency’s Gaia billion-star mapping spacecraft, marking the 25th spacecraft dedicated to science launched by Arianespace.

  • December 19 – Arianespace wraps up a banner year in terms of commercial orders – with 15 satellites won for Ariane 5 launches to geostationary transfer orbit, and four satellites booked for Vega.
  • December 14 Arianespace signs the contract for 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers with Astrium, following an agreement concluded earlier in the year for long-lead items on these vehicles. This latest batch will be available for missions starting in 2017.
  • December 6 – The construction go-ahead is given for a new facility to fuel the Soyuz vehicle’s Fregat upper stage, to be located in French Guiana at the Spaceport’s Soyuz launch complex.
  • September 17 – Arianespace signs an initial agreement with Astrium to begin production of 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers, covering long-lead items and early production activities for these heavy-lift vehicles valued at more than 400 million euros.
  • September 9 – Arianespace reaches a record backlog of orders from 26 customers worth more than 4 billion euros, following the announcement of five new launch contracts at Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week in Paris.
  • May 7 – Vega’s second flight from French Guiana marks the start-up of mission operations under Arianespace responsibility for this light-lift launcher.  A trio of satellites, including Vega’s first commercial payload, are orbited during the successful mission.

  • April 18 – Stéphane Israël is appointed Chairman & CEO of Arianespace, succeeding Jean-Yves Le Gall – who led the company since 2001 and earlier in April 2013 was named President of French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).
  • March 18 – Arianespace announces a three-satellite launch services contract for Intelsat, with the spacecraft to be orbited through 2017 by Ariane 5 vehicles from the Spaceport. The deal covers the 52nd, 53rd and 54th payloads that Arianespace will orbit for this leading provider of satellite services, continuing a nearly 33-year partnership.

  • March 4 – Arianespace is selected to orbit the first two satellites for Australian operator National Broadband Network (NBN). These spacecraft are scheduled to be lofted by separate Ariane 5s in 2015 from the Spaceport. NBN’s satellites mark the eighth and ninth Australian satellites entrusted to Arianespace. 

  • February 8 – Arianespace announces the signature of a long-term multiple launch services agreement with Eutelsat Communications. This accord covers up to four launches in the 2016-2017 timeframe and extends an agreement between the two companies signed in July 2012.
  • February 6 – Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate completes the fourth and final Soyuz mission contracted by Globalstar to deploy its second-generation satellite constellation on flights performed from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  This is Starsem’s 26th consecutive successful Soyuz launch since the company conducted its maiden commercial Soyuz mission from the Kazakhstan launch site in 1999.
  • January 8 – Arianespace announces an exceptional business performance for 2012, with its 10 commercial launch contracts signed for GTO (geostationary transfer orbit) payloads representing a 60 percent share of the worldwide market for the year.
  • January 4 – A Vega launch contract is signed by Arianespace with Astrium for the VNREDSat-1A Earth observation satellite on behalf of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology.  This Astrium-built payload is scheduled to be orbited during the second quarter of 2013 on Vega’s no. 2 mission from French Guiana.

2012

  • December 19 – Ariane 5 lofts the Skynet 5D and Mexsat Bicentenario satellites, wrapping up a year in which 10 Arianespace launcher family missions are performed from the Spaceport.  This activity involved seven heavy-lift Ariane 5 flights, two with the medium-lift Soyuz, and the lightweight Vega’s inaugural launch.

  • November 26 –  EchoStar selects Arianespace to launch multiple new satellites over a multi-year period from the Spaceport in French Guiana. This new contract provides EchoStar with launch capacity and flexibility for its satellite program. EchoStar’s relationship with Arianespace dates back to 1996 with the launch of EchoStar II.
  • August 2 – Arianespace confirms the reliability and performance of Ariane 5 with the heavy-lift launcher’s 50th consecutive mission success.  This milestone mission orbits the Intelsat 20 and HYLAS 2 satellites, delivering a world-record performance of nearly 10.2 metric tons total mass launched to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • June 20 – Arianespace signs a Vega launch contract with Astrium for the DZZ-HR high-resolution observation satellite, which will be operated by Kazakhstan.  Scheduled for orbiting in the second quarter of 2014, the DZZ-HR agreement marks Arianespace’s third contract for Vega, and the first to serve an end-customer outside of Europe.

  • May 15 – Arianespace’s total number of primary satellite passengers launched in its operations from French Guiana surpasses the 300 milestone with an Ariane 5 mission that orbits the JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 communications satellites.  This overall total does not include some 50 additional auxiliary or secondary payloads lofted on Arianespace flights.

  • February 13 – The qualification flight of Vega – performed under European Space Agency responsibility – is a success, clearing the way for Arianespace to take charge of the lightweight launcher’s commercialization and operation.

2011

  • December 29 – An Arianespace/Starsem Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome with Globalstar second-generation satellites closes out a very busy year of launch activity.  The total of nine flights performed during 2011 were composed of two Soyuz launches at Baikonur Cosmodrome conducted by Starsem on behalf of its Arianespace parent, along with Arianespace’s first two Soyuz liftoffs from the Spaceport in French Guiana, and five Ariane 5 missions from the Spaceport – lofting a total of 29 payloads with a combined mass of more than 63,000 kg.

  • December 14 Arianespace announces the first commercial contract signing for its Vega lightweight launcher, booking two satellites in the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 families dedicated to Europe's GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) program.   The launches are scheduled for 2014-2016 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
  • November 7 For the first time, flight preparations are underway with each member of Arianespace’s full launcher family operating from French Guiana: the heavy-lift Ariane 5, the medium Soyuz and lightweight Vega. This activity further underscores Arianespace’s ability to offer mission performance truly tailored to customer requirements in missions from the Spaceport.
  • October 24 – The Arianespace launcher family becomes a reality as operational versions of the Vega, Soyuz and Ariane 5 are present in French Guiana, positioned for upcoming missions.  The no. 1 Vega for this lightweight launcher’s VV01 qualification flight in January 2012 arrives from Europe aboard the MN Colibri sea-going ship, along with a heavy-lift Ariane 5 for the VA205 mission in early 2012 with Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle.  They join a Soyuz that is being prepared for Arianespace’s second launch of the medium-lift vehicle from the Spaceport, which is scheduled for December 16, 2011.
  • October 21 – The medium-lift Soyuz enters Arianespace’s launcher family at the Spaceport with a successful inaugural flight that orbits Europe’s first two Galileo navigation satellites.
  • October 7 – The second launch campaign for a Soyuz mission from French Guiana begins, putting in motion the preparations for a mid-December 2011 liftoff with the French CNES space agency’s Pleiades optical Earth observation satellite, accompanied by five supplemental payloads. This activity is performed in parallel with preparations for Soyuz’ maiden flight from the Spaceport.
  • October 6 – The first Vega to be launched from the Spaceport departs Europe aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off ship for its sea-going voyage to French Guiana. After arriving at the Spaceport, this Vega will be prepared for a liftoff scheduled in January 2012 with a multi-spacecraft payload composed of the LARES satellite and nine small cubesats from European universities. This will serve as the vehicle’s qualification flight, opening a series of missions to demonstrate the launch system’s flexibility.
  • August 16 – Arianespace marks a major milestone in the expansion of its launcher family as launch campaign activity begins for the first Soyuz mission from French Guiana. The historic flight is scheduled for liftoff on October 20 with a payload of two In-Orbit Validation (IOV) spacecraft for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system.
  • May 5 – The medium-lift Soyuz - which is Arianespace's newest launcher family member - takes a major step closer to its service introduction with a highly realistic simulated launch from the Spaceport.
  • April 29 – Soyuz marks a major step closer to its service introduction at the Spaceport with the Russian-built vehicle’s first rollout to the launch pad during a full-scale “dry run” exercise.   The maiden flight of Soyuz from French Guiana later is targeted by Arianespace for later in 2011 with two European Galileo navigation satellites.

  • April 22 – During a successful mission at the service of two new customers – the Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, and a joint venture of Intelsat and Convergence Partners – Arianespace sets a new heavyweight record with its workhorse Ariane 5 launcher: a combined payload mass of 8,956 kg. for the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn satellites, delivering a total lift performance of 10,050 kg. to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • February 16 – The historic 200th flight of an Ariane family vehicle successfully orbits Europe’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle, which is the heaviest payload ever lofted by Ariane 5.

2010

  • December 31 – Another highly successful year is completed, with Ariane 5 orbiting 12 telecommunications satellites in six dual-payload missions from the Spaceport, along with a Soyuz flight from Baikonur Cosmodrome that lofted six Globalstar second-generation satellites. In new business, 12 contracts were signed by Arianespace for GTO payloads in 2010, which were complemented by 12 spacecraft to be placed in low- and medium-Earth orbit on Soyuz missions. 

  • December 27 – Arianespace is granted its license as a launch service operator, in application of French law on space operations
  • May 21 – Arianespace successfully lofts the ASTRA 3B commercial telecommunications satellite and Germany's COMSATBw-2 military relay platform from Europe’s Spaceport, marking the 50th flight of its heavy-lift Ariane 5.
  • May 8 – The no. 1 Soyuz assembled at the Spaceport completes its initial phase of integration with the mating of the four first-stage strap-on boosters to the Block A core second stage.  This will be the first Soyuz 2-1a vehicle to be operated from French Guiana by Arianespace.
  • March 26 – Arianespace marks the 30th anniversary of its creation as the world's first commercial space transportation company. Now the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions provider, Arianespace has lofted more than half of all the commercial satellites currently in service worldwide.
  • January 28 – The support contract for Vega’s first launch campaign is signed by Arianespace and the European Space Agency. Testing of the lightweight launcher will be conducted at Europe's Spaceport starting in April 2010, paving the way for the first flight later in the year.
  • January 26 – Arianespace signs a launch contract for the first 10 spacecraft in Europe's planned Galileo satellite positioning system in the Netherlands. These spacecraft will be orbited in pairs starting in December 2012, using five Soyuz launchers operated from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

2009

  • December 18 Arianespace marks its 35th consecutive mission success with Ariane 5, lofting the French military reconnaissance satellite Helios 2B into Sun-synchronous polar orbit on the vehicle’s seventh launch of 2009.
  • November 23 – Arianespace marks a historic milestone with the arrival of its first two Soyuz launchers in French Guiana. This venerable medium-lift vehicle will enter service next year from the Spaceport, joining the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and subsequently the lightweight Vega.
  • November 7 – Arianespace is one step closer to the next major expansion of its growing commercial launcher family as the first two Soyuz vehicles to be operated from the Spaceport in French Guiana depart Russia for the transatlantic voyage to South America.   These vehicles are carried aboard the MN Colibri transport ship, which is to make the 5,119-nautical mile ocean crossing in two weeks.
  • October 29 – Arianespace’s sixth mission in 2009 lofts THOR 6 and NSS-12.  THOR 6 is orbited for new customer Telenor Satellite Broadcasting AS, while NSS-12 is launched for SES WORLD SKIES – the 32nd spacecraft from the SES group of companies entrusted for an Ariane launch.
  • October 1 – Arianespace maintains its record 2009 mission pace with the successful dual satellite launch of Amazonas 2 for Spain’s HISPASAT and the German military’s COMSATBw-1.
  • August 21 Arianespace scores another Ariane 5 mission success with the launch of JCSAT-12 and Optus D3 – two U.S.-built telecommunications satellites to be operated by key Asia-Pacific customers.
  • July 1 – The world’s largest commercial satellite ever launched, TerreStar-1, is lofted by Arianespace’s Ariane 5 ECA – marking the heavy-lift vehicle’s 31st consecutive success.
  • May 14 – Arianespace successfully  launches the Herschel space telescope and Planck observatory aboard an Ariane 5, furthering the company’s support of deep space exploration. The two European Space Agency spacecraft are placed on Earth escape trajectories for the Sun-Earth system’s second Lagrange point (L2).

  • February 12 – Arianespace's year-opening Ariane 5 mission with HOT BIRD™ 10, NSS-9 and two Spirale payloads marks the heavy-lift vehicle's 29th consecutive success.

  • February 3-6 – Over a four-day period, Arianespace announces new launch orders for five payloads from Arabsat, Hispasat of Spain, and Thales Alenia Space with Russian operator Gazprom.

2008

  • December 20 – Arianespace wraps up another year of on-target Ariane 5 launches, orbiting  the HOT BIRD™ 9 and W2M satellites for the Eutelsat telecommunications provider.

  • December 4 – Arianespace wins its 86th launch contract in the United States, signing a Service & Solutions agreement to orbit the ViaSat-1 satellite for ViaSat Inc.

  • October 17 – SES commits to three new primary launch services using Ariane under a Multi Launch Agreement (MLA) signed in June 2007.  The commitment covers three satellites to be orbited by Ariane 5 between 2009 and 2012.

  • August 14 – Arianespace performs its ninth Ariane 5 mission during a 12-month period, demonstrating the company’s ability to maintain its sustained flight rate with the workhorse heavy-lift vehicle.  This flight carried the Superbird-7 and AMC-21 satellite payloads.
  • July 22 – Arianespace signs a Service & Solutions agreement to orbit the MSG-4 meteorological observation satellite for EUMETSAT.  This is the tenth satellite for which the intergovernmental organization has chosen an Ariane launch.

  • June 12 – Arianespace conducts its 25th consecutive Ariane 5 mission success, orbiting a dual satellite payload of Skynet 5C and Turksat 3A with an Ariane 5 ECA.
  • April 11 – Arianespace is selected to launch the BSAT-3b satellite for Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT). This is the 25th contract won by Arianespace to orbit a Japanese satellite and the seventh such agreement with B-SAT.

  • March 9 – Arianespace performs its first mission in support of the International Space Station, delivering the 19,000 kg.-Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) resupply spacecraft with an Ariane 5 ES.

 2007

  • November 14 – The Ariane 5 ECA launcher sets a new heavy-lift record, orbiting a total payload of more than 8,700 kg. with the Skynet 5B and Star One C1 satellites.
  • August 14 – Arianespace performs its first launch for Hughes Network Systems, orbiting the SPACEWAY 3 satellite on a dual-payload Ariane 5 mission with BSAT-3a.
  • June 23 – New contracts announced at the Paris Air Show bolsters Arianespace's launch services leadership position. The orders included a multi-launch framework agreement with SES, as well as contracts for Arabsat 5 (Arab League), Thor 6 (Norway), Rascom 1 (Africa) and Insat 4G (India).
  • June 23 – Arianespace signs a preliminary order with Astrium for the production of 35 Ariane 5 launchers, which is in addition to the batch of 30 Ariane 5s ordered in 2004.
  • April 4 – Optus D3 is the 285th satellite payload signed by Arianespace. To be lofted by an Ariane or Soyuz launch vehicle in 2009 from Europe's Spaceport, Optus D3 will be the fifth satellite launched by Arianespace for Australian operator Optus.
  • April 2 – Arianespace announces it will launch two Intelsat payloads: the Horizons-2 spacecraft for Horizons Satellite LLC (a joint venture between Intelsat and JSAT), and Intelsat-11. Both spacecraft are to be carried by an Ariane 5 in the third quarter of 2007.
  • March 1 – SPACEWAY 3 becomes the latest satellite payload signed with Arianespace for an Ariane 5 launch. The Hughes Network Systems spacecraft will be delivered to geostationary transfer orbit during a mission scheduled from Europe's Spaceport in August 2007.
  • February 21 – A press release issued during the Satellite 2007 conference details SES AMERICOM's contract for the launch of its AMC-21 aboard an Ariane 5 in 2008. This is the 26th satellite entrusted to Arianespace by a member of the SES family of companies.
  • January 8 – Arianespace announces a contract to launch the ProtoStar I direct-to-home satellite for ProtoStar Ltd., which is the 280th launch contract won by Arianespace since its creation in 1980.

 2006

  • December 27 – A joint Arianespace/Starsem mission orbits the European COROT astronomy satellite on the inaugural flight of the enhanced Soyuz 2-1b launcher.
  • December 8 – Arianespace’s final Ariane 5 mission of the year orbits the WildBlue-1 and AMC-18 satellites, bringing total payloads lofted by Ariane 5 in 2006 to 10 primary satellites and one auxiliary passenger – more than all competitors combined.
  • November 8 – Emerging North American mobile communications operator TerreStar Networks chooses Arianespace to launch TerreStar I, which will be the largest commercial communications satellite ever launched into geostationary orbit.
  • May 27 – Ariane 5 delivers a record-setting dual-satellite payload of more than 8,200 kg. to GTO on its successful heavy-lift flight with the Satmex 6 & Thaicom 5 telecommunications satellites.
  • February 8 – Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall is honored as the Satellite Executive of the Year by Via Satellite magazine.

 2005

  • November 17 – The heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA boosts a record payload into orbit by lofting the SPACEWAY 2 high-definition direct broadcast satellite for American operator DIRECTV, and the TELKOM 2 communications satellite for Indonesian operator PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. With a total mass of over 8,000 kg. injected into orbit, the SPACEWAY 2 and TELKOM 2 satellites represent the heaviest dual payload ever launched.
  • June 14 – The Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport provides Arianespace an opportunity to mark its 25 years of excellence in the commercial launch services marketplace. During its quarter century of operations, Arianespace has become the world leader in launch solutions, and maintains the industry's no. 1 position.
  • August 11 and 14 – Arianespace scores back-to-back mission successes in a three-day period as an Ariane 5 orbits the THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) spacecraft on August 11 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, while a Starsem-operated Soyuz lofts the Galaxy 14 satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on August 14. THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) is the largest commercial communications satellite ever placed in geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), and will be operated by Thailand's Shin Satellite Public Company Limited. Galaxy 14 is the second in a series of new-generation satellites ordered by PanAmSat for the delivery of video and TV programming.
  • February 12 – The Ariane 5 ECA launcher successfully orbits the XTAR-EUR communications satellite and the Sloshsat scientific payload, validating the heavy-lift launcher's performance and accuracy.

 2004

  • October 6 – An international grouping announces plans to launch a cluster of 50 nanosatellites on a single Arianespace mission in 2007 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first man-made satellite. The mission will be performed for the International Astronautical Federation, and is to involve the cooperative efforts of Arianespace, the Russian Space Agency (with the support of the Russian space industry) and the IAF in partnership with the leading space agencies from around the world.
  • May 14 – A contract is signed enabling Arianespace to prepare for its role as operator of the Vega launch system, which - along with Ariane and Soyuz - will be part of the range of three launchers to be operated from the Spaceport in French Guiana starting in 2007.
  • May 12 – Australian telecommunications carrier Optus chooses Arianespace to orbit its D1 and D2 satellites using Ariane and Soyuz launchers from the Spaceport in French Guiana. The contract with Optus marks a major landmark in Arianespace's strategy to offer comprehensive launch services solutions - using both Ariane and Soyuz in French Guiana, as well as the Launch Services Alliance that the company established with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Boeing Launch Services.
  • May 10 – An industry contract is signed for the manufacture of 30 Ariane 5 launchers, providing a production volume that will enable Arianespace to enhance its performance, ensure launch service continuity and maintain its competitiveness on the international launcher market. The 30-launcher batch will consist primarily of standardized Ariane 5 ECA vehicles, but also will include the Ariane 5 ES version for missions with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).
  • May 4 – The DIRECTV 7S satellite is launched by Sea Launch - marking the first mission cooperatively transferred from an Ariane to another launch vehicle under terms of the Launch Services Alliance - making mission assurance a reality.
  • March 2 – Arianespace Flight 158 successfully launches the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet-intercept spacecraft on Ariane 5. Rosetta embarked on an Earth escape trajectory following its release from Ariane 5's upper stage and a prolonged ballistic phase. Rosetta will be the first mission ever to land on a comet, which is set to encounter Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014.

 2003

  • December 28 – Arianespace/Starsem Flight ST12 successfully deploys Israel's AMOS 2 telecommunications satellite into geostationary orbit. Originally slated for an Ariane 5 launch, the satellite was switched to a Soyuz/Fregat launch vehicle as a result of the flexible Arianespace/Starsem launcher family policy. This marks the first Soyuz commercial mission to geostationary orbit and the 12th mission for Starsem.
  • September 27 – Ariane 5 carries its first triple-spacecraft payload on Flight 162. The mission successfully lofted the Indian Space Research Organisation's INSAT 3E telecommunications/video broadcast satellite, the e-BIRD broadband services platform for Europe’s Eutelsat and the SMART-1 lunar probe for the European Space Agency.
  • July – Arianespace joins with Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to create the Launch Services Alliance, which combines the strengths of the world's leading commercial launch providers Arianespace, to provide customers with flexible, reliable and on-time delivery to orbit.
  • February 15 – The Ariane 4 launcher family ends its career with a trademark highly accurate mission that carried the Intelsat 907 payload. The launch was Ariane 4's 116th flight.

 2002

  • September 16 – Launch contract announced for SPAINSAT, the first military communications satellite for Spain. Built by Space Systems/Loral, SPAINSAT will be launched by an Ariane 5 in 2004 and positioned at 30 degrees West, over the Atlantic Ocean.
  • August 28 – Flight 155 orbits telecom and weather satellites on Ariane 5's 13th launch, demonstrating the launcher's capability to pair up all types of satellites on a single mission. The Ariane 5's payload consisted of the Atlantic BirdTM 1 telecommunications satellite built by Alenia Spazio for EUTELSAT, and the MSG-1 weather satellite for the European Meteorological Satellite (EUMETSAT) organization.
  • February 28 – On Flight 145, an Ariane 5 places the European Space Agency's Envisat into a highly accurate Sun-synchronous orbit on a record-setting mission. The 8,000-kg. Envisat was the largest satellite ever built in Europe, the heaviest payload carried by an Ariane, and it used the longest fairing available for Ariane 5.

 2001

  • June – Arianespace signs eight new launch contracts at the Paris Air Show, bringing the year's total to 11 for a combined orderbook value of 600 million euros.
  • June 7 – With Flight 141, Ariane 4 marks its 62nd successful launch in a row, as Arianespace's no. 1 customer, Intelsat, places into orbit the first new Intelsat IX-series satellites.
  • February 7 – Two primary European military communications payloads are launched together by Ariane for the first time: Flight 139 carries Sicral for the Italian defense ministry, and Skynet 4F for the British Ministry of Defence, using an Ariane 44L.

 2000

  • November 15 – On a single mission, Ariane 5 lofts the PAS-1R and three auxiliary payloads on Flight 135, setting a new record by placing 6,313 kg. into orbit.
  • October 29 – Arianespace's Flight 134 launches first satellite for Europe*Star UK Limited, the new telecommunications operator created through a joint venture between Alcatel Spacecom and Loral Space & Communications.
  • August 17 – Arianespace successfully orbits the Egyptian Nilesat 102 and Brazilian Brasilsat B4 satellites; Flight 131 marks the 55th consecutive successful launch of Ariane 4.
  • June 7 – The largest launch services contract in the history of Europe's space industry is signed by the European Space Agency with Arianespace for nine firm Ariane 5 flights to carry the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

 1999

  • December 10 – Ariane 5 becomes the first new-generation heavy-lift launcher to enter commercial service with the successful Flight 119/AR 504 mission. The launcher placed its XMM X-ray observatory satellite into an accurate elliptical orbit.
  • December 3 – Arianespace marks the 50th consecutive successful launch with the completion of Flight 124.
  • August 16 – Three new payloads are announced for Aria nespace launches: Insat 3A for the Indian Space Research Organisation, Telstar 7 for Space Systems/Loral and a yet unnamed satellite for PanAmSat. All three payloads are to be launched between the third quarter of 1999 and the third quarter of 2000.
  • July 20 – Arianespace orders 20 Ariane 5 launchers in the P2 production batch, adding to the 14 previously contracted during 1995 for the first production batch.
  • June 18 – Matra Marconi Space signs with Arianespace for the launch of Nilesat 102, the second spacecraft for Egyptian TV satellite operator Nilesat SA.
  • April 15 – Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Marie Luton announces a contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. for Japan's BSAT-2a and BSAT-2b spacecraft.

 1998

  • December 5 – Flight 114 with the Satmex 5 satellite uses a geostationary transfer orbit injection optimized by the maximum use Ariane 4's 3rd stage performance reserve.
  • October 28 – The payload of 4,946kg. (10,881 lb.) with AfriStar and GE-5 on Flight 113 sets an all-time lift record for an Ariane 44L.
  • October 21 – Ariane 5 is qualified for commercial operation following the successful Ariane 503 flight.
  • September 16 – Flight 110 carries PAS-7, the 12th Arianespace launch for PanAmSat.
  • February 4 – Arianespace kicks off 1999 with the 75th Ariane 4 on Flight 105, whose Brasilsat B3 and Inmarsat III F5 satellites bring to 300,000 kg. the total combined weight of satellites orbited by Ariane.

 1997

  • December 22 – Flight 104 ends a busy year for Arianespace, with the mission marking the shortest interval between two commercial launches – 19 days.
  • October 30 – The Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher carries its dual payload to orbit on the new vehicle's second qualification flight.
  • September 23 – Ariane performs its 100th launch. Payload is the Intelsat 803 telecommunications satellite.
  • August 8 – The Ariane 4 marks its 27th consecutive successful launch - a record for the program.
  • January 30 – A new lift performance record is set for Ariane at 4,900 kg. (10,780 lb.) with the U.S. GE-2 and Argentine's Nahuel 1A telecommunications spacecraft.

 1996

  • September 10 – Arianespace welcomes a new client with Flight 91's successful orbiting of the Echostar 2 telecommunications satellite. Echostar signed for the launch in the first half of the year, and Arianespace was able to provide the rapid launch urgently needed to ensure service continuity.
  • July 9 – Ariane 4 carries a new, stretched version of the mini-Spelda on Flight 89 with the Turksat 1C and Arabsat 2a satellites.
  • May 15 – Flight 86 launches satellites for two new country clients: Indonesia's Palapa C2 and Amos for Israel.
  • March 18 – Arianespace is chosen by Alcatel Espace to launch three satellites for WorldSpace, a U.S.-based international digital audio radio provider.
  • March 14 – Arianespace launches its 14th mission in a period of 11.5 months with the V84 flight, which carries the Intelsat 707(A) telecommunications satellite.
  • January 25 – Matra Marconi Space selects Arianespace to launch Nilesat – Egypt's first direct broadcast satellite.

 1995

  • December 6 – Flight 81 with Telecom 2C and Insat 2C is the 11th, and final, launch for 1995 – marking a record number of Ariane missions in one year.
  • October 19 – Ariane carries its 100th telecommunications satellite – Luxembourg's Astra 1E spacecraft.
  • July 7 – The French-built Helios 1A is the first reconnaissance spacecraft launched by Ariane. Two piggyback payloads – Spain's UPM/Sat 1 and the French Cerise technological satellites also are carried on the mission.

  • May 17 – Flight 73 introduces the H10 3 version of Ariane's third stage. The stage provides 30 more seconds of propulsion time and a payload increase of from 60 to 140 kg.

 1994

  • July 8 – A new payload performance record for Ariane is set on Flight 65, with a combined weight of 4,617 kg. separated into orbit. Satellites for this mission are PanAmSat 2 and BS-3N.

 1993

  • November 20 – Ariane's total combined payload mass placed into orbit surpasses the 150 metric ton mark with Flight 61, which carries the Solidaridad 1 and Meteosat 6 spacecraft.

 1992

  • May 18 – Arianespace celebrates the signing of its 100th launch contract.
  • April 15 – Ariane marks its 50th flight with the launch of an Ariane 44L version with the French Telecom 2B and Inmarsat II-F4 telecommunications satellites, This Ariane also is the first of the P9 batch of 50 launchers ordered by Arianespace.

 1991

  • October 29 – An Ariane 44L version launches the heaviest satellite carried to date by Ariane – the 4,259-kg. (13,969-lb.) Intelsat 6 telecommunications spacecraft on flight V47.

 1990

  • February 1 – Arianespace capital opened to new European partners (creation of Arianespace Participation).
  • January 22 – First flight of an Ariane 40 version of the Ariane 4 family. Payload is the French Spot 2 Earth resources satellite, with four U.S. and two U.K. microsatellites as piggyback payloads on the ASAP auxiliary payload integration structure.

 1989

  • July 12 – Final flight of an Ariane 3, and last launch from the ELA 1 launch complex. Payload is the European Olympus telecommunications satellite.
  • June 5 – First mission for the Ariane 44L version of the Ariane 4 family, equipped with four solid strap-on boosters. Passengers are Japan's Super Bird A and DFS Kopernikus 1 telecommunications satellites.
  • April 2 – Final mission of an Ariane 2 launcher version. Payload is Sweden's Tele-X direct TV broadcast satellite.
  • February 15 – European space industry received orders to manufacture 50 Ariane 4 launchers.

1988

  • June 15 – Maiden flight of the increased-lift Ariane 4 version. Primary payloads are the U.S. PanAmSat 1 and European Meteosat P2. Germany's Amsat IIIC spacecraft is a secondary passenger.

 1987

  • November – European Space Agency member countries approve Ariane 5's development.
  • November 21 – First successful launch of an Ariane 2 version. Payload is Germany's TV-SAT 1 television broadcast satellite.

 1986

  • March 28 – Ariane V17 mission is the first from the new ELA 2 launch complex at the Guiana Space Center. Passengers are the U.S. GTE Spacenet GStar 2 and Brazilian Brasilsat 2 telecommunications spacecraft.
  • February 22 – Ariane's V16 mission marks the last flight of the Ariane 1 version, and the first mission to heliosynchronous orbit. Primary payload is the French Spot 1 Earth observation satellite, with Sweden's Viking small scientific spacecraft as the secondary payload.

 1985

  • January – Ministers of the European Space Agency countries approve the start of preparatory work on what is to become the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

 1984

  • August 4 – First flight of an increased-lift Ariane 3 version. Payloads are the European ECS 2 and French Telecom 1A telecommunications satellites.
  • May 22 – Ariane V9 launch, with the Spacenet 1 telecommunications satellite as payload, inaugurates the first commercial space transportation line. The mission uses the basic Ariane 1 launcher version, and is launched from the ELA 1 pad at the Guiana Space Center. The flight is the ninth mission for an Ariane.

 1981

  • November 2 – First commercial launch services contract signed, with the U.S. company GTE Spacenet as client.

 1980

  • March 26 – Creation of Arianespace, the world's first commercial space transportation company.

 1979

  • December 24 – The first Ariane is launched. The mission uses an Ariane 1 version, and is performed from the ELA 1 facility at the Guiana Space Center. The launcher carries the European CAT technological capsule and ballast simulating a typical satellite payload.
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