Arianespace Makes Profit With Large ESA Subsidy

An Ariane 5 rocket soars into orbit on Dec. 29, 2010. Credits: ESA / CNES / Arianespace / Photo Optique vidéo du CSG

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Arianespace reports that it made a profit of 1.6 million euros ($2.1 million) on revenues of 1,012.6 million euros ($1.34 billion) in 2011. The consortium would have been in the red if not for a subsidy of 145 million euros ($191.4 million) from the European Space Agency.

In a statement, the company said it expected business to grow next year with concurrent operation of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega from the Guiana Space Center. The company will be able to spread its operating costs among three boosters instead of just one. Ariane 5 launched five times last year with the new Soyuz rocket, new to Guiana, lifting off twice. Vega made its inaugural launch earlier in February of this year.

Profits are not as important for Arianespace because the consortium’s shareholders are its suppliers, meaning they get most of their funding through component orders.