Latest Press releases

Corporate January 9, 2019

After 11 launches and maintaining commercial leadership in 2018, Arianespace gears up for the challenges of 2019

Arianespace maintained a sustained pace of operations in 2018, with a total of 11 launches performed, including four in dual launches with Ariane 5 ECA.

With 18 contracts signed during the year for all of its current and future launchers, Arianespace confirms its business momentum and leadership in the geostationary market. Other highlights include the first commercial contract for Ariane 6 and contracts signed for the first Vega mission using the SSMS multiple launch system, slated to lift off in 2019. Two contracts signed in late 2018 with the French CNES space agency were announced today for spacecraft to be launched as auxiliary passengers on a Soyuz mission planned in 2019.

The schedule for 2019 is very full, including up to 12 missions to be carried out from the Guiana Space Center by Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega. At the same time, Arianespace is actively gearing up for the advent of Vega C and Ariane 6, and continues to market these launch services.

A sustained launch rate and impressive business performance in 2018

21 satellites orbited on 11 missions: six by Ariane 5, three by Soyuz and two by Vega

Arianespace carried out 11 launches in 2018 from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), including five for European institutions, using the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch vehicles. This family of launchers placed nearly 57 metric tons into orbit for 13 different customers, and generated revenues of 1.4 billion euros.

These missions once again clearly demonstrated Arianespace’s full-fledged commitment to customers and the versatility of its services:

  • Remarkable availability and operational capacity, allowing Arianespace to perform six launches in less than three months (from September 25 to December 19) and to successfully complete a launch every two weeks from November 6 to December 19.
  • Exceptional versatility, based on its family of three launchers capable of handling any satellites, into any orbits, for any type of mission. These missions included the most emblematic, such as four more satellites for the Galileo constellation (Flight VA244), the 100th Ariane 5 mission (Flight VA243), and BepiColombo, Europe’s first mission to explore the planet Mercury (Flight VA245); the Aeolus wind measurement spacecraft (Flight VV12); and the launch of the CSO-1 military observation satellite, which also was the 20th Soyuz launch from CSG (Flight VS20).

Arianespace surpassed the 300th launch milestone in 2018, taking into account all of its launch vehicles, and thus achieving the following totals by the end of December 2018:

  • 246 by Ariane (including 102 Ariane 5)
  • 46 by Soyuz (including 20 from CSG)
  • 13 by Vega.

18 contracts signed in 2018, including first commercial contract for Ariane 6 and first Vega SSMS mission

Arianespace achieved remarkable business success in 2018 by signing 18 launch contracts with 15 different customers for 26 satellites, ranging in mass from nine kilograms to more than six metric tons. This represents the equivalent of two Ariane 5s, two Ariane 64 versions, one Ariane 62 vehicle, and three Vega/Vega C launchers (including the SSMS demonstration flight). It also signed contracts for the first two flight opportunities on SSMS 2 using Vega, and two CNES nanosatellites (ANGELS and EyeSat), to be launched by Soyuz in 2019. Furthermore, after signing the Taranis satellite contract with CNES in 2012, this spacecraft will now be launched by Vega in 2020.

With the market for geostationary communications satellites in a “wait and see” mode, Arianespace reaffirmed its leadership in this segment by signing launch contracts for eight additional satellites (five with Eutelsat, two for ISRO, and one B-SAT), bringing the total number of GEO satellites in its backlog of launch orders to 28, far outpacing competitors in terms of market share.

Vega also has confirmed its success in the Earth observation market by signing three more satellite launch contracts. Also worth noting is the commercialization of the Proof of Concept flight for the small spacecraft mission service (SSMS) resulting in commercial agreements with seven customers for a launch in 2019.

The marketing of Europe’s future launchers continues, with a first commercial contract for the Ariane 64 version signed in September with Eutelsat, within the scope of a multi-launch agreement comprising five satellites. CSO-3 on behalf of CNES and DGA, consolidated institutional commitments in favor of Ariane 62 during the Transition phase.

At the start of 2019, Arianespace’s order book stands at 4.2 billion euros, and includes the equivalent of 54 launches on behalf of customers in different segments, distributed as follows (by value):

  • 70% commercial and 30% institutional;
  • 40% GEO missions and 60% non-GEO missions;
  • 68% telecommunications, 24% Earth observation, 4% navigation, 4% science and technology.

Arianespace: ready to rise to the challenges of 2019

Up to 12 launches from the Guiana Space Center in 2019 with the current launcher family…

Three launch campaigns are now underway at the Guiana Space Center, using the three launchers in the current Arianespace family. The heavy pace of the last quarter of 2018 is set to continue, with four launches targeted for the first quarter of 2019.

As many as 12 launches from CSG are now scheduled for 2019, including two institutional missions:

  • Up to five Ariane 5, all dual launches, into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), with the first planned on February 5, 2019 for customers Arabsat, Hellas Sat and “King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology” on one hand, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the other.
  • Up to three Soyuz launches: the first launch for the OneWeb constellation, paving the way for upcoming launches from Baïkonur starting in the last quarter of 2019; a fifth O3b/SES mission; the COSMO-SkyMed/CHEOPS mission for the Italian space agency and defense ministry; and for ESA.
  • Up to four Vega launches: PRISMA mission for the ASI Italian space agency, two Falcon Eye satellites for the United Arab Emirates, and the demonstration flight for multiple small satellite launches (SSMS) using Vega – a program initiated by ESA in 2016 with a contribution from the European Commission, designed to address institutional and commercial requirements in the promising new microsatellite market segment.

… as well as the Vega C qualification flight late 2019 

Arianespace is actively preparing for the first launch of Vega C in coordination with ESA – the contracting authority for this program; and with Avio – the launcher prime contractor. Vega C will offer greater payload capacity (volume and weight), allowing it to handle an even wider range of missions, from nanosatellites to large optical and radar observation satellites.  

Arianespace is committed to the success of decisive milestones for the European launcher industry in 2019 

In addition to gearing up for the first flights of Vega C and Ariane 6, Arianespace is teaming up with partners to play an active role in key developments for the European launcher industry in 2019. This includes finalizing, along with ArianeGroup, the production order for the last batch of Ariane 5 launchers and for the transition phase Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 launcher versions, while preparing for the next ESA ministerial-level conference, dubbed “Space19+”, to take place in November 2019 in Seville, Spain. This conference is tasked with defining the roadmap for Ariane 6 and Vega C during steady-state operations, while also consolidating institutional commitments to these launchers.

About Arianespace

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 590 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.

Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

APRES 11 LANCEMENTS EN 2018 ET UN LEADERSHIP COMMERCIAL REAFFIRME, ARIANESPACE SE TOURNE VERS LES DEFIS DE 2019
PDF / 62 KB
Corporate November 7, 2018

Emmanuel Franc joins Arianespace and will become the Senior Vice President - Sales & Business Development on January 1, 2019

Read more
Tune in on arianespace.com close