Arianespace and ArianeGroup kick off production for the final 10 Ariane 5 launchers across Europe’s space industry in parallel to the operational debut of Ariane 6
With this latest order, there are now 23 Ariane 5 launchers in production or to be produced, from the PB+ and PC batches. With this latest “PC batch,” the industry confirms its commitment to consolidate the competitiveness of the European launch offer even before the arrival of Ariane 6.
ArianeGroup and its Arianespace subsidiary have announced an order for 10 Ariane 5 ECA launchers.
The 10 launch vehicles covered by this “PC batch” will be deployed from the Guiana Space Center beginning in 2020, coming after the launches of 18 Ariane 5s ordered in 2013 (in the “PB+ batch”).
This production order represents a total value of more than one billion euros for the European space industry, involving more than 600 companies in 12 European countries* – including 350 small and medium-sized enterprises.
The order’s size is aligned with the ramp-up for the next-generation Ariane 6, which is scheduled to make its first flight in mid-2020, reaching full capacity in 2023.
The decision announced today follows the commitment made by Arianespace in December 2016 to initiate the procurement of long lead items (LLI**). It also allows ArianeGroup, industrial prime contractor for the development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers – as well as its European partners (over 600 companies in 13 countries*, including some 350 small and medium-size enterprises) – to start initial production activity for these additional launchers.
This new batch also guarantees the durability for launch service offerings by the European operator Arianespace for institutional and commercial clients until the end of the transition phase with Ariane 6 – with this launcher’s full operational capacity to be reached by 2023. Ariane 5, which chalked up its 82nd successful launch in a row in December 2017, has undergone continuous performance improvements since the beginning of the Ariane 5 ECA program. As a result, Ariane 5 set a new record in June 2017 by lofting 10,865 kg. into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). From this payload lift record, Ariane 5’s performance will be increased another 250 kg. by 2020 as part of an ESA-funded program – with the PC production batch taking full advantage of the improvement.
After the announcement of the PC batch production order, Luce Fabreguettes, the Arianespace Executive Vice President – Missions, Operations and Purchasing, said: “With the production go-ahead for these 10 new launchers, Arianespace proudly leverages the exceptional performance, reliability and availability of Ariane 5 to deliver the best possible launch service for its customers, while also guaranteeing Europe’s independent access to space. Along with our partners, this new contract ensures that we will have the best conditions to succeed in the operational transition from Ariane 5 to Ariane 6 for the benefit of all our customers.”
ArianeGroup CEO Alain Charmeau, commenting on this new step, which begins the transition between Ariane 5 and Ariane 6, said: “This production kickoff of 10 new Ariane 5 ECA represents, for the European industry, a total of more than 1 billion euros. This also allows us to continue capitalizing on the exceptional levels of quality and punctuality that have made Ariane 5 so successful, while being consistent with the rapid market introduction of Ariane 6.”
ArianeGroup develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs nearly 9,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its estimated proforma revenues exceed 3 billion euros.
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 550 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 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.
* 12 European countries are involved in the industrialization of Ariane 5, 13 for Ariane 6.
** The raw materials and unmachined elements are required to be ordered ahead of time