Arianespace at the 2012 International Astronautical Congress
During the 63rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Naples, Italy from October 1 to 5, 2012, Arianespace reaffirmed its position as the world's benchmark satellite launch service provider and a leading partner to the Italian space industry.
Founded in 1980, Arianespace was the world’s first satellite launch company It is one of the main sponsors of IAC, a major event in the annual space calendar, which is bringing together over 4,000 representatives of government, industry, research organizations and media this year in Naples. During the IAC 2012, Arianespace underscored the good health of the Italian space industry, confirmed this year by the addition of the Vega light launcher to Europe’s family of launch vehicles.
ESA and Arianespace had addressed the space insurance community on September 28 in Paris, emphasizing the excellent performance of Vega on its first launch. Arianespace’s participation in IAC 2012, alongside ESA, the Italian space agency ASI and Italian space companies, provides an excellent opportunity to share the latest information on Vega’s upcoming missions.
Vega, a technical and commercial success
Vega, which made a successful first launch on February 13, 2012, is marketed and operated by Arianespace. To date, Arianespace has signed three commercial contracts for Vega launches of the Sentinel 2B and 3B satellites for GMES, and DZZ-HR for Kazakhstan, along with the VERTA framework contract covering five launches for ESA. These contracts clearly indicate that Vega is now an integral part of Europe’s launcher family. Through its space agency, co-organizer of the 63rd IAC, Italy is the lead contributor to Vega, developed and produced by ELV (a joint venture of Avio, 70%, and the Italian space agency, 30%). Vitrociset is in charge of developing the ground segment.
Italy, a favored partner of Arianespace
A major player in the European space industry, Italy has developed a wide range of expertise that makes it a favored partner of Arianespace, covering both launch vehicles and satellites. Vega capitalizes on the industrial skills developed for Ariane 5, and applied in particular by Avio, the prime contractor for Ariane 5’s solid boosters. Its responsibilities include the manufacture of the igniters and preparation of stages in the Colleferro plant prior to shipment to the Guiana Space Center, production of the solid propellant, casting propellant in the solid booster segments, and integration of the stage and thrustframe in French Guiana. In addition to its role on Ariane 5 and Vega, Italy is the second largest contributor to the Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center program. Furthermore, the Italian space agency operates the Malindi ground station in Kenya, used for launches of European rockets into geostationary orbits.
IAC 2011 to IAC 2012
Both Arianespace and its subsidiary Starsem have enjoyed a very successful year since the last IAC in 2011, including:
Five Ariane 5 launches, all completely successful, including one carrying the Edoardo Amaldi ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) to the International Space Station. The ATV is fitted with a cargo module integrated at Thales Alenia Space’s Turin plant.
The first two launches of Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center, one orbiting the first two satellites in the Galileo constellation, monitored from the ground control station in Fucino, Italy, one of the world’s largest satcom ground stations.
Two Soyuz launches from Baikonur, including one carrying Europe’s MetOp-B weather satellite, which includes a spectrometer developed by Italian company Selex Galileo.
The first launch of Vega, a complete success, under the responsibility of the European Space Agency, with support from the Italian space agency.
The next Arianespace launch is now slated for Friday, October 12, at the Guiana Space Center. A Soyuz rocket will orbit two more satellites in the Galileo constellation.