Arianespace Signs Ariane 5, Vega Contracts

Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA - S. Corvaja, 2012)
Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA – S. Corvaja, 2012)

EVRY, France (Arianespace PRs) — Arianespace, the world’s leading launch services company, and Astrium, the world’s second leading space technology company, have signed a contract for 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers, worth more than 2 billion euros. These 18 new Ariane 5 rockets will be launched starting in 2017, following the 35 launchers that were already ordered in 2009, in the PB batch.

Arianespace also announces that it has signed a contract to launch two satellites into low Earth orbit. These launches will be carried out by two Vega launch vehicles, operating from the Guiana Space Center in 2017 and 2018.

Following the Vega contract signature, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “After its first two missions, both 100 percent successful, our Vega launcher is now established as the benchmark for launching government or commercial payloads into low Earth orbit. The contract signed today clearly shows that the international space community understands the advantages offered by our launch system.”

The Ariane 5 contract was signed on Saturday, December 14, 2013 by Israël and François Auque, CEO of Astrium, at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The signing ceremony was witnessed by French President François Hollande and Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of Higher Education and Research, along with Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of French space agency CNES and Jean-Paul Herteman, President of Safran.

This latest order brings the number of Ariane 5 launchers under construction or on order to 38. It ensures that Arianespace’s customers will enjoy continued launch services from the Guiana Space Center until the end of the decade.

The contract announced today follows the framework contract signed by Arianespace on September 17, 2013, which already enabled Astrium and its partners to start procurement of long-lead items, and begin production of the new launchers.

Commenting on this latest contract, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “I would first like to thank the French President, whose presence here today at the Guiana Space Center shows how important France considers its space program, and also reflects how both public authorities and our partners identify with the values that characterize Arianespace, namely reliability, availability and quality. I would also like to thank Astrium of course, and the European launcher industry, for delivering Ariane 5, an exceptional launch vehicle that has driven Arianespace’s operational and business success. Coming at the end of a record year of launch orders, this contract guarantees the longevity of the Ariane launch system, while also improving its competitiveness. In other words, it’s a strong sign of confidence in our future, allowing us to give customers the services that best match their needs.”

“I would like to thank Arianespace for this major new order, which shows that the industrial network set up by Astrium is capable of producing the most reliable launcher in the world as well as ensuring the global leadership of Arianespace. This contract reaffirms Astrium’s role as prime contractor of Ariane 5 since 2003 and reinforces its robust order book,” said Astrium CEO François Auque. “The presence of the French President here in Kourou today shows the importance of the space sector to the European economy and industry, as well as France’s commitment to guarantying European independent access to space for the past 40 years.”

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company, delivering innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, the company offers an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of December 15, 2013, Arianespace had carried out a total of 215 Ariane launches, 31 Soyuz launches (five at the Guiana Space Center and 26 at Baikonur via Starsem) and two Vega launches. Arianespace has a backlog of 21 Ariane 5, 10 Soyuz and four Vega launches, equaling three years of business.