ROME (Arianespace PR) — Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, and Pierluigi Pirrelli, Chief Executive of ELV (European Launch Vehicle), signed a contract today, October 29, 2014, in Rome, confirming Arianespace’s order of ten Vega launch vehicles from the Italian manufacturer.
This contract follows the long-term procurement agreement concerning these ten launchers, signed in Rome on November 20, 2013 in a ceremony attended by French President François Hollande and Enrico Letta, Chairman of the Italian Council of Ministers.
Today’s contract signing ceremony was held at the Italian Ministry of Research in Rome, and was attended by Stefania Giannini, Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research, Professor Roberto Battiston, President of Italian space agency ASI, Catherine Colonna, the French ambassador to Italy, Pier Giuliano Lasagni, the Chairman and CEO of Avio, and other representatives of the Italian government.
The ten Vega launchers ordered today, representing more than three years of business for Arianespace, will enter service at the end of 2015.
Following the success of the first three Vega launches1 and nine new missions signed by Arianespace, today’s production contract confirms the long-term viability of Vega, now established as the best launch vehicle in the light-lift class. Vega is perfectly suited to the launch of small scientific and Earth observation satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbit. It is available for not only European government and institutional launches, but also export contracts.
Arianespace is the launch system operator during the operational phase, with responsibility for the marketing and sale of launch services, and is prime contractor for launch operations. Vega is operated alongside the Ariane 5 heavy launcher and the Soyuz medium launcher as part of the Arianespace family of launchers at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
ELV, based in Colleferro, Italy, is the industrial prime contractor for the Vega launcher. It is a public-private joint venture, owned by Avio (70%) and the Italian space agency (30%).
Following the signature of this contract, Ms. Giannini, Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, said: “The space field has enormous potential and can play its part in the relaunch of our economy. Today’s agreement is a demonstration and it is also a confirmation of the importance of our industry”.
ASI chief Roberto Battiston added: “Vega represents Italian technological excellence. Today’s agreement signature is a demonstration of the industrial benefits in the field of space resulting from years of investment in high-technology infrastructure and highly specialized personnel. The importance of this agreement is evident not only in economic terms. It is the reflection of the presence and abilities of our domestic industry that allows Europe to excel in the highly competitive field of launchers. The Vega program testifies to the successes possible through an effective and coordinated strategic effort.”
Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman and CEO, said: “Vega is a technological achievement that Italy can really be proud of. It owes a lot to the industrial excellence of Avio combined with the unwavering support of the Italian government through ASI. Arianespace is delighted to confirm the new impulse given to Vega’s exploitation ramping up through the signature with ELV of a procurement contract for 10 additional units: these launchers will meet the needs of our customers, both institutional and commercial on the small satellites segment, especially the one dedicated to Earth observation. We are determined to go on working with our Italian partners to make Vega a successful program in the long run” “.
Pier Giuliano Lasagni, Chairman and CEO of Avio, underscored the commitment of everybody who contributes to Vega’s success, noting: “Vega boosts Italian exports in this high-tech sector. The contract signed today will play a substantial role in maintaining over 1,000 skilled trade jobs in Italy, and just as many in Europe, through at least 2018. I am referring to highly experienced and qualified technicians and line workers, along with value-added engineering, which fosters dynamic collaboration with universities and other research centers in Italy. It also attracts top talent, who are proud of this opportunity to produce work on a par with their counterparts in Italy and worldwide.”
Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company, providing 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 October 29, 2014, 220 Ariane launches, 35 Soyuz launches (9 at the Guiana Space Centre and 26 at Baikonur with Starsem) and three Vega launches have been performed. The company’s headquarters is in Evry, near Paris, and has local offices in Washington DC (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore.
ELV is a public-private company owned by the AVIO Group (70%) and the Italian Space Agency (30%). ELV is the prime contractor for the design and development of the European launcher Vega, and it is responsible for the integration of the launcher in French Guiana.
About AVIO S.p.A.
Avio is an international leading group in the aerospace industry. Avio operates in Italy, France, French Guyana and it has more than 800 employees. In 2012 income was 287 M€. Avio Group develops the launch system VEGA allowing Italy to be one of the few Countries in the world which can build and produce a whole space launch system. Its subsidiary ELV (owned 30% by Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) is prime contractor.
Avio has a long established experience in the design and production of liquid and solid propulsion systems for space launchers and tactical propulsion.
Avio also produces the liquid oxygen turbopomp for the cryogenic engine Vulcain, the two solid propellant side engines for Ariane 5, the first part of the defence missile system Aster 30. The solid propulsion of Avio had a great success in more than 215 launches of Ariane and in all launches of Vega.
In the satellite field, Avio group developed for ESA and ASI the propulsion subsystems to launch and control more than 30 satellites (SICRAL and Small GEO are the most recent).