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In the holiday spirit: Arianespace recognizes its U.S. customers and partners
December 17, 2012
Arianespace paid tribute to its U.S. customers and partners at the company’s annual year-end holiday event in Washington, D.C., putting the spotlight on a highly-successful relationship that continues to grow stronger with each passing year.
Hosted at the United States Institute of Peace on December 14, this traditional family gathering was attended by Arianespace customers, partners, industry managers and government officials, along with other members of the U.S. and international space communities.
The event included comments from Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, who underscored the important role U.S. customers and partners have played in Arianespace’s busy 2012 launch activities – which kicked off in March with orbiting of another Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for servicing of the International Space Station. This mission used a heavy-lift Ariane 5, and was performed in cooperation with NASA and the European Space Agency.
Arianespace lofted two satellites for U.S. customers using its workhorse Ariane 5 this year: EchoStar XVII for operation by Hughes Network Systems (in July) and Intelsat’s Intelsat 20 satellite (during August).
Le Gall added that nearly half of the satellites for launch by Arianespace during 2012 were built in the U.S., with Lockheed Martin, Orbital Sciences Corporation and Space Systems/Loral each producing two spacecraft. The company is on track to set a new 10-year personal best for delivery of U.S.-manufactured payloads (in mass), following nine flights already performed from the Spaceport in French Guiana (six with Ariane 5, two with Soyuz and the February qualification mission with Vega).
The third Orbital-built satellite for launch by Arianespace this year – Mexsat Bicentenario – is to be lofted during the company’s seventh and final Ariane 5 flight in 2012, planned for Wednesday, December 19 from the Spaceport in French Guiana. It will be joined on this upcoming dual-passenger flight by the Skynet 5D relay platform.
In honor of the Washington, D.C. holiday gathering’s special venue, Le Gall closed his speech with observations on peace, and how the satellite industry – by providing channels of communication for all nations – contributes to a safer planet for all.