Launch Services Alliance
Arianespace is a member of the Launch Services Alliance, a powerful commercial service offering that combines the strength of three leading launch service providers to ensure on-time missions for customers around the world.
Created in July 2003, the Launch Services Alliance is a bold initiative of Arianespace, Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Their arrangement is roughly comparable to the airline industry's "code-share" agreements, where passengers buy a single ticket that can provide service on the routes of several partner airlines.
With the Launch Services Alliance, mission assurance becomes a reality as customers have the ability to fly on three of the world's finest launch systems: Arianespace's Ariane 5, the Sea Launch vehicle from Boeing Launch Services, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' H-IIA. An agreement with the Alliance enables customers to seamlessly transition among these launch platforms for maximum flexibility to ensure delivery to orbit when they want it.
The Alliance's three members continue to retain their marketing autonomy, allowing customers to make the final decision whether they wish to gain access to a much broader set of solutions to orbit than would otherwise be available in today's market.
The successful launch of DIRECTV 7S by Sea Launch in 2004 was the first mission performed within the Launch Services Alliance framework. DIRECTV 7S originally was to have been orbited by Arianespace at the end of 2003 – which created a scheduling conflict with the Ariane 5's Rosetta scientific mission. Using the Launch Services Alliance's flexibility, DIRECTV 7S was transferred from Ariane 5's manifest to a Sea Launch vehicle, and the spacecraft was lofted on May 4, 2004.
In May 2004, Australian telecommunications carrier Optus became the first customer to sign a new launch order incorporating an alternate back-up launch vehicle with the Launch Services Alliance. This order with Arianespace called for the Optus D1 and D2 payloads to be orbited by Ariane and Soyuz launchers in 2005 and 2007, respectively.
The Launch Services Alliance partners
Arianespace is the leading global commercial launch services provider, primarily serving commercial satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 250 satellite payloads. Web site: www.arianespace.com.
Boeing Launch Services Inc., headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., is responsible for the marketing and sales of the Sea Launch and Delta family of launch vehicles to commercial and government customers. BLS is part of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems, which is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Web site: www.boeing.com/launch.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is Japan's leading aerospace company with responsibility for the manufacture, sale and launch of the highly successful H-IIA launch vehicle. Web site: www.mhi.co.jp.