Holiday gathering in Washington, D.C. highlights Arianespace's 2011 successes
December 7, 2011
Arianespace’s achievements in 2011 – and its stepped-up launch tempo for next year – were spotlighted for an American and international audience at the company’s annual year-end holiday event in Washington, D.C.
This traditional family gathering, held tonight at the office location for the company’s U.S. subsidiary, Arianespace, Inc., was attended by company customers, partners, satellite manufacturers, and representatives from space agencies, organizations and associations.
Clayton Mowry, the President of Arianespace, Inc., said Soyuz’ highly successful introductory flight from the Spaceport on October 21 was a major milestone in 2011, marking a key step in completing the company’s full launcher family.
“This launch was the culmination of more than 10 years of efforts involving the European Space Agency and its member states, the French and Russian space agencies – CNES and Roscosmos – and the teams at Arianespace,” Mowry said. “With Soyuz operational in French Guiana, Arianespace now has another capable launcher for geostationary satellites, as well as for payloads to low Earth orbit.”
He also acknowledged Arianespace’s long track record in serving U.S. customers, with the company having launched more than half of all telecommunications satellites that serve the United States.
Mowry noted this relationship also achieved an important milestone in 2011 with Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch in September, which orbited the SES-2 telecommunications satellite carrying the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) sensor for the U.S. Air Force.
“This was the result of much hard work by the people who have been advocates for the hosted payload model,” he added. “And with the launch of SES-2, our Ariane 5 has now flown 46 consecutive successful launches over the past nine years.”
Arianespace will keep up its sustained launch cadence in the remaining weeks of 2011 and into 2012, with Mowry noting that 18 different payloads currently are being prepared for upcoming Soyuz, Ariane 5 and Vega missions from the Spaceport - with these spacecraft ranging from microsatellites to the next Automated Transfer Vehicle resupply vessel for the International Space Station.
The next Arianespace mission from French Guiana is set for December 16 using a medium-lift Soyuz, followed in the first quarter of 2012 by the next heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch and the maiden flight of the lightweight Vega.
In parallel, a Soyuz mission is being readied at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to orbit six Globalstar satellites in a flight conducted during the week of December 25 on behalf of Arianespace by its Starsem affiliate.