Press Release

Press Release

Arianespace hosts meeting of launch system manufacturers

Evry, October 11, 2010

Arianespace organized a meeting of all European manufacturers involved in the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega programs today at company headquarters in Evry, near Paris.

The annual meeting organized by Arianespace brings together all European manufacturers of launch systems, including both launch vehicles and facilities. Participants reviewed the events of the previous year, and jointly defined directions and objectives for 2011, when the three launchers in the family will all be in operation from the Guiana Space Center (CSG).

A family of three launchers

Ariane 5, the heavy lifter
With 38 successful launches in a row and over seven years without a failure, Ariane 5 continues to confirm, launch after launch, its technical and operational maturity. Arianespace guarantees reliable, available launch services for all customers, based on:

Soyuz, the medium launcher
The first launch of Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center is scheduled for April 2011. Arianespace’s customers have expressed their confidence in this new system by signing 18 launch contracts to date. Arianespace has therefore ordered 24 launchers from Russian industry, with the first two already delivered to CSG. The Soyuz launch complex (ELS) will be handed over to Arianespace by the end of 2010 and, following the inaugural launch in April 2011, two more Soyuz launches are scheduled by the end of that year.

Furthermore, since 1999, Starsem, the European-Russian subsidiary of Arianespace, has operated Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It has carried out 21 commercial launches to date, all successful, with the next launch planned on October 19.

Vega, the light launcher
The new Vega launch system offers payload capacity of 1,500 kg to an orbit of about 700 km, and will primarily be used for scientific and Earth observation satellites. Purpose-designed to meet demand from Arianespace’s customers, and ideally suited for the launch of small satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbits, Vega aims to quickly establish itself as the best launcher in its class.

Arianespace signed the Verta framework contract in September, covering the five Vega launches after the qualification flight. The Vega launch pad will be handed over by the end of the year, and the first launch is slated for 2011.

 2011: a year of challenges

Arianespace and the European space industry are facing several major challenges in the coming months:

The expanded European launcher family of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega will give Arianespace the enhanced agility needed to meet the evolving requirements of its broad customer base, including both government and commercial operators.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 24 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an unrivalled family of launchers, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of October 1, 2010, Arianespace had launched a total of 283 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of 22 Ariane 5 and 18 Soyuz launches, equal to more than three years of business.

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