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Feature story April 30, 2020

The fight against COVID-19: Arianespace provides a helping hand for frontline workers

Arianespace’s corporate slogan is: “Using space for a better life on Earth,” and in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the company is applying this same philosophy to support health care professionals and others in battling the virus.

Hydro-alcoholic solution produced by Arianespace and ArianeGroup is delivered to Kourou’s hospital center in the photo at left, while at right, a health care worker displays one of the Arianespace-donated ponchos.

To date, Arianespace has been involved in two initiatives: the first focused on providing disinfecting solution for French Guiana, home to Europe’s Spaceport and the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch sites; while the other supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals in France, home country to the company’s headquarters.

Delivering disinfectant to French Guiana

Responding to a supply shortage, Arianespace and its ArianeGroup parent company – aided by the French CNES space agency – worked to rapidly produce disinfecting hydro-alcoholic solution, using the Spaceport’s chemical analysis laboratory and stocks of raw material.

Some 60 liters of hydro-alcoholic solution were created by the end of March, with two-thirds delivered to Kourou’s hospital center (Centre Hospitalier de Kourou). An additional 10 liters were earmarked for civil security needs as expressed by the French Interior Ministry’s Prefecture administration, while the remaining 10 liters were saved for use by launch site security personnel at the Spaceport.

Protective ponchos for healthcare workers in France

In the separate effort, more than 1,000 ponchos were delivered for use by hospitals in Paris and the surrounding  region, as well redistributed by SOS Equipements association for its caregivers at homes across France and to nursing homes and municipal staff who help the elderly.

These ponchos, typically used to protect Arianespace’s guests from the tropical rains of French Guiana, are an effective alternative to the gowns that equip caregivers in contact with COVID-19 patients.

  • For additional details on the hydro-alcoholic solution deliveries in French Guiana, watch the local news report from the Guyane la 1ère TV station.
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