Since opening its Tokyo office in 1986, then launching the first Japanese commercial satellite, JCSAT-1, in 1989, Arianespace has become a major partner to Japanese manufacturers and operators.
During its annual Japan Week conference in Tokyo, Arianespace confirmed its continued global leadership in the launch services market.
The benchmark in launch services
During this annual get-together of Japanese operators, manufacturers and service providers, Arianespace, the first commercial launch services company, confirmed its global leadership in this market. Since being founded, Arianespace has signed more than 375 launch contracts with 81 different customers. It has carried out 212 Ariane launches, orbiting 311 payloads, including more than half of the commercial satellites now in orbit worldwide. Arianespace has also carried out 30 Soyuz launches (26 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan via its Euro-Russian subsidiary Starsem, and four from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, South America) and the first two launches of Vega, both perfectly successful.
A record backlog of orders
Drawing on a complete range of launch vehicles, with proven reliability and availability, Arianespace wins more than half of the commercial launch contracts open to competitive bidding on the international market every year. This gives it a very healthy backlog of launch orders, equal to three years of operations: 33 satellites to be launched into geostationary orbit by 21 Ariane 5 launchers, four dedicated Ariane 5 missions, 11 Soyuz launches and three Vega launches. Since the beginning of the year, Arianespace has seven contracts for Ariane 5 launches into geostationary orbit. Arianespace’s backlog now stands at 4.7 billion euros from 24 customers.
Arianespace and Japan
Since opening its Tokyo office in 1986, Arianespace has won 27 launch contracts in Japan out of the 36 open to competition, giving it a market share of 75%. It also launched the LDREX 1 and 2 payloads for JAXA, the Japanese space agency. Arianespace has clearly become the preferred launch services company for Japanese operators, notably including SKY Perfect JSAT, the leading satellite operator in Asia.
On May 15, 2012, Arianespace orbited the company’s JCSAT-13 satellite. Last September, Arianespace and SKY Perfect JSAT signed the Multi Launch Services Agreement (MLSA), guaranteeing available, flexible launch services from Arianespace in the near term, enabling this operator to improve its competitiveness and meet its customers’ expectations even more completely.
The other major Japanese operator, BSAT, also called on Arianespace to orbit its BSAT-3b satellite in 2010 and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R in 2011. All seven satellites used by BSAT since its inception were launched by Arianespace. At the same time, Arianespace and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have developed an innovative partnership arrangement, by jointly offering reciprocal launch services by Ariane 5 and H-IIA. Arianespace and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation set up a partnership for the launch of Superbird-7 in 2008 and ST-2 in 2011.
Japan is one of Arianespace’s leading partners, and will remain so for many years to come, given the breadth and depth of Japan’s space program. After having fruitful meetings with the main players of the Japanese space community (among which B-SAT, SKY Perfect JSAT, JAXA & MHI), Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman and CEO declared, “Japan is one of our key customers and strategic partner. Arianespace wishes in the future to maintain and intensify this privileged relationship.”
An exceptional family of launch vehicles
Arianespace offers satellite operators from around the world – both private and government – a complete family of launch vehicles:
Ariane 5 heavy launcher (68 launches in all, including the last 54 successful launches in a row).
Soyuz medium launcher (four successful launches from the Guiana Space Center); Soyuz is also operated from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Starsem (26 successful launches).
Vega light launcher (two successful launches).
To date in 2013, Arianespace has carried out an Ariane 5 launch and a Vega launch from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), in addition to a Soyuz launch from Baikonur. Eight more launches are planned at CSG this year: up to five Ariane 5 and four Soyuz launches. On June 5, Arianespace will launch the Albert Einstein ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) to the International Space Station (ISS). The following launch will use a Soyuz rocket from CSG on June 24 to place four O3b satellites in medium Earth orbit. Given the proven performance of these three launchers and Arianespace’s healthy order book, the company has been the global leader in the launch services industry for several years, with a market share largely exceeding 50%.