A record mission pace: 12 launches of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega are planned in 2011
Arianespace’s busy mission schedule for the second half of 2011 reflects the operation of its expanded launcher family at the Spaceport in French Guiana, building on 30 years of commercial space lift expertise.
Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall outlines Arianespace’s commercial launch services attributes during the company’s Paris Air Show press conference at Le Bourget Airport.
Speaking to journalists at the company’s traditional Paris Air Show press conference today, Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said mission planning foresees three more Ariane 5 flights from the Spaceport through year-end – beginning with a dual-payload launch on July 1, which will bring total liftoffs of this heavy-lift vehicle in 2011 to six.
The medium-lift Soyuz’ historic introduction in French Guiana remains on schedule for October 20 to orbit a pair of Galileo satellites for Europe’s space-based navigation system, which is to be followed by a second Soyuz mission from the Spaceport in 2011. The launchers for these two missions have now arrived in French Guiana aboard one of the two sea-going transport ships utilized by Arianespace, Le Gall added.
The Vega lightweight vehicle’s qualification flight also continues to be targeted in 2011, completing the year’s French Guiana operations – and positioning Arianespace to achieve its goal of providing lift capability for a full range of payloads from a modern launch base at the equator.
Adding to this high level of Spaceport activity will be three Soyuz launches from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying six Globalstar second-generation satellites each, with the first of these scheduled for July 11.
“The reasons for this overall technical and operational success is a direct result of the high-quality launchers built by our industrial partners, as well as the demonstrated capabilities of Arianespace as the launch services provider at the Guiana Space Center,” Le Gall added.
Having signed contracts for more than 300 payloads since its creation in 1980 and launching 294 spacecraft for 77 customers, Arianespace today has a backlog that includes 26 geostationary satellites and five missions to the International Space Station. This will support 18 launches of Ariane 5 along with 18 dedicated Soyuz missions, representing a commercial services value of more than 4 billion euros.