Who does what?

An Arianespace launch is the result of teamwork that brings together skilled personnel from multiple organizations


Arianespace is responsible for launching its customers’ satellites into the desired orbits or trajectories, and is the commercial operator of today’s Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch systems – along with the future Ariane 6 and Vega C versions. It markets the launch services, prepares the missions and handles all relations with customers – with the dual goals of being a leader in commercial space transportation and guaranteeing Europe’s independent access to space. At the Spaceport in French Guiana, Arianespace oversees the industrial team that integrates and prepares for launch, and the company ensures that customers have the resources necessary to conduct their payload preparation campaign from the spacecraft’s arrival through its injection into orbit.


ArianeGroup – a joint venture of Airbus and Safran that was established in 2014 – is lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain. Its goal is to provide comprehensive solutions in an increasingly competitive market, based on a family of versatile, cost-competitive launchers that meet the needs of both government and commercial customers.


The Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, is the coordinating hub for this country’s space activities. In particular, it is responsible for license allocations and intergovernmental relations, and serves as the launch authority in charge of range operations. Under Roscosmos’ direction are: the Samara Space Center, which handles design, development and manufacture of launch vehicles – including the Soyuz first, second and third stages and fairing; NPO Lavochkin, which manufactures and integrates Soyuz’s Fregat upper stage, and is responsible for launch operations; and TsENKI, which is in charge of launch planning and the provision of associated services, the design, technical and operational management of the launch pad and associated facilities dedicated to Soyuz.


Avio – which is based in Colleferro, Italy – is prime contractor for the design and development of Europe’s Vega and Vega C launchers, along with the additional responsibility for their integration and testing in French Guiana. With more than 50 years of experience and know-how, this international group is at the space launch sector’s cutting-edge.

The European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is the owner of the Spaceport’s launch infrastructure for Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz launchers, as well as the next-generation Ariane 6 and Vega C. This includes launcher and satellite preparation buildings, launch operation facilities and the launcher production facilities for the Ariane solid propellant boosters that are largely manufactured and integrated at the spaceport. ESA also maintains a small team at the Spaceport to act as its representative in French Guiana.

CNES, the French national space agency

France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales operates the Guiana Space Center (Europe’s Spaceport). Its tasks include maintaining and developing the infrastructure; ensuring the safety of people and property before, during and after a launch, both at the site and in French Guiana; providing essential support for launcher and satellite preparation; ensuring that launch activities do not have a negative impact on the environment; coordinating operations during launch; and organizing public visits to the Spaceport.

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