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Arianespace: A launch services trailblazer remains the industry leader

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Jan 4, 2006 8:25 pm
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Press Release; Founded in 1980, Arianespace was the world’s first launch services company. In 2005, Arianespace maintained its long-standing position as the world’s leading supplier of launch solutions.

The global benchmark in space transportation

Arianespace once again confirmed its global leadership in 2005 as it signed seven new launch contracts, while subsidiary Starsem added two more.

Since its creation, Arianespace has signed 267 launch contracts with 62 international operators, and Starsem has signed 18 contracts. Six out of 10 satellites in orbit today were launched by Arianespace. The company has a backlog of 37 satellites to be launched, while Starsem has five – far and away the largest order book in the industry.

Eight launches in 2005: Five for Ariane 5 and three for Starsem, placing 11 satellites in orbit In 2005, Arianespace successfully launched two Ariane 5 ECA and three standard Ariane 5G launchers, placing eight satellites into geostationary transfer orbit.

With 21 successful launches and 11 in a row, Europe’s Ariane 5 has amply proven its technical maturity. Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher now on the market capable of launching two payloads at once, thereby delivering greater performance, flexibility and competitiveness to all customers.

On August 14, 2005, Arianespace and Starsem successfully launched the American satellite Galaxy 14 from Baikonur. This launch was initially planned for an Ariane 5, and its transfer to a Soyuz launcher clearly reflects the advantages of the “launcher family” policy set up by Arianespace to meet customer requirements.

The Arianespace subsidiary Starsem successfully carried out two launches for the European Space Agency (ESA) from Baikonur in 2005: the Venus Express probe was launched on November 9, and Giove-A, the first satellite in the Galileo space-based navigation constellation, was launched on December 28.

Inventing tomorrow’s solutions

Arianespace is gearing up to face tomorrow’s challenges. In the coming months and years, Arianespace will be tackling a series of key projects: consolidation of Ariane 5 production and availability; participation in upcoming space exploration programs; serving the International Space Station; development of the Launch Services Alliance; and design studies for next-generation launchers.

Sustained operations

For 2006, five or six Ariane 5 launches are planned from the Guiana Space Center. The next launch of an Ariane 5 ECA is slated for February 21, with the Hot Bird 7A and Spainsat satellites onboard.

Starsem is planning three Soyuz launches from Baikonur in 2006, with the next one on April 14, to boost Giove-B into orbit.

The first Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center is expected in 2008.

Development of the new Vega light launcher continued in 2005, and its maiden launch is now scheduled for 2008.

Strong growth in sales

Arianespace’s sales showed strong growth in 2005, to 1.05 billion euros, with income once again at the break-even point. Starsem had sales of about 100 million euros, and income was also at the break-even point.

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