After an outstanding year serving Japan in 2018, Arianespace is ready for the dawn of the new era, Reiwa
Arianespace carried out a total of 11 launches in 2018, including three involving Japanese customers. Along with these successful launches for Japan, Arianespace also signed a new launch service contract with the operator B-SAT.
Arianespace and Japan have developed an exceptional partnership since the launch services company opened its office in Tokyo in 1986. This dynamic relationship was confirmed today with the announcement of a new launch contract with the Japanese startup Synspective, using a Vega launcher. Arianespace has now signed 33 launch contracts in 33 years with Japanese satellite customers. Three more launches for Japanese customers are scheduled through 2020, using Ariane 5 and Vega.
As the new Reiwa era dawns, Arianespace is more than ever committed to serving Japan. It also is ready to meet the new challenges of this market with its two launchers, Ariane 6 and Vega C, with their first flights expected as soon as 2020.
Speaking at Arianespace’s Japan Week 2019 event, Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, said: “At the dawn of a new era in Japan and for Europe’s launchers, Arianespace is proud to sign a contract for Vega with a player in the ‘New Space’ environment, one that further enriches our relationship with Japanese operators. Ariane 6 and Vega C also combine tradition and modernity, heritage and innovation, and will soon be able to support Japan’s ambitious space goals, whether used by the country’s space agency or its dynamic commercial sector.”
2018, an exceptional year in support of Japan’s space ambitions
Three launches out of 11 for Japanese customers
Arianespace carried out 11 launches from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana in 2018, orbiting 21 satellites. Three of these successful missions were performed for Japanese customers, all using the Ariane 5 launcher:
The DSN-1/Superbird 8 satellite was orbited on April 5, 2018 for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation;
Horizons 3e, co-owned by Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, was launched on September 25, 2018, during a mission that also marked the 100th launch of Ariane 5;
The BepiColombo mission (carrying two probes), a joint initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese space agency JAXA to explore the planet Mercury, was launched on October 19, 2018.
Latest contract with B-SAT confirms Arianespace’s leadership in the geostationary market
Arianespace also has continued to develop its business partnership with Japan in this market, as reflected by the recent announcement of the launch contract for the BSAT-4b satellite, which will be orbited by an Ariane 5 in 2020. Since opening an office in Tokyo in 1986, Arianespace has launched nearly 75% of the country’s geostationary satellites.
Despite the “wait and see” attitude in today’s geostationary telecom satellite market, Arianespace reaffirmed its global leadership in this segment last year. Out of the 18 contracts signed by Arianespace, eight were for geostationary satellites (five for Eutelsat, two for ISRO, one for B-SAT), bringing the number of GEO satellites in its order book to 26, with a market share largely ahead of all competitors.
Arianespace is ready to support Japanese operators in the new Reiwa era
The first satellite launched by Arianespace in 1989 (JCSAT-1) signaled the start of the Heisei era, a period during which Arianespace launched 30 satellites into geostationary transfer orbit for Japanese operators (SKY Perfect JSAT, B-SAT and NHK). As a result, Arianespace has largely supported the development of the Japanese satellite industry over the last three decades.
With a new Japanese era, Reiwa, dawning on May 1, 2019, Arianespace is ready to help shape the future. The company’s exceptional partnership with Japan, reflected by 33 launch contracts signed in 33 years, is set to continue its momentum.
Vega makes its debut in the Japanese “New Space” environment, with a launch contract for Synspective
Arianespace is working with Japan as the country embarks on its new era, teaming up to meet the challenges of the “New Space” environment. As a result, Arianespace and the Japanese startup Synspective have announced a launch contract for the company’s first satellite (StriX-α) using a Vega launch vehicle. The two companies also announced today a strategic partnership to study the development of a more comprehensive collaboration agreement, in particular to launch Synspective’s planned constellation.
Two launches toward geostationary orbit for Japanese operators through 2020
In addition to the Vega launch announced today, Arianespace will launch two more Japanese satellites on Ariane 5 in the coming months:
JCSAT 17 for SKY Perfect JSAT;
BSAT-4b, which will be the 10th Arianespace launch for B-SAT.
Ariane 6 and Vega C on the launch pad in 2020
The new generation of European launch vehicles was designed to meet the requirements of the evolving satellite market. Ariane 6 and Vega C will enable Arianespace to conduct launches of satellites of all sizes into all orbits, including constellations and smallsats, thanks to multiple-launch systems (SSMS on Vega/Vega C and MLS on Ariane 6). Because of these new launchers’ heritage of reliability, coupled with enhanced competitiveness, both institutional and commercial customers have already signed contracts for missions starting in 2020.
At mid-April, Arianespace had a backlog of 51 launches for 36 customers (including three in Japan):
18 with Ariane (12 Ariane 5, 4 Ariane 62 and 2 Ariane 64);
24 with Soyuz;
9 with Vega/Vega C.
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 600 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.