ATK/Astrium Propose Ares 1-Ariane 5 Hybrid Booster for CCDev 2


A new commercial rocket proposal based on the Ares 1 first stage and the Ariane 5 core. It’s like Frankenstein meets….rocket Frankenstein! Looks like it will definitely fly. But, is it affordable?


ATK and Astrium (an EADS Company) are working together in response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Development-2 (CCDev-2) procurement.  The team is offering NASA launch services with the Libertyâ„¢ rocket.  This new launch vehicle combines two of the world’s most reliable propulsion systems, with a collective heritage of nearly 150 successful flights.


Shareholders Agree to $110 Million Bailout of Arianespace

Ariane 5 ECA for flight V184 climb away from the Guiana Space Centre on the evening of 7 July 2008.

Arianespace Shareholders Agree To Offset Consortium’s Losses
Space News

The Arianespace commercial launch consortium has won approval of its shareholders to recapitalize the company to compensate for two years of losses totaling 135 million euros ($184 million), European government and industry officials said Jan. 26.

The shareholders, led by the French space agency CNES and Ariane 5 prime contractor Astrium Space Transportation, will not be paying that amount in cash, however.


ESA’s Bold New Idea: Audit Arianespace

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

ESA Putting Arianespace Finances Under the Microscope
Space News

European governments have ordered a detailed audit of the sources and uses of money at the Arianespace commercial launch consortium and its industrial suppliers as a condition of granting the company’s request for what may be a permanent financial aid package to assure its ongoing financial viability, European government and industry officials said.


Officials Ponder Arianespace’s Future as Consortium Gears Up for Busy 2011

Ariane 5

As Arianespace celebrates a successful year in which it went 6-for-6 with Ariane 5 launches and looks forward to the introduction of the Soyuz and Vega rockets in Guiana later this year, European officials have been trying to figure out how to help the consortium avoid a loss:

Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch consortium on Jan. 4 said revenue for 2010 dropped by about 10 percent compared to 2009 and that the company will report a loss unless it receives requested financial aid from European governments.

The Evry, France-based company conducted six launches of its heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket in 2010, down from seven in 2009, and this is the main reason for the revenue drop, to slightly more than 900 million euros ($1.2 billion), in 2010.


ESA Commitment to ISS Extension Contingent Upon Solving Arianespace Funding Issue

International Space Station

ESA Unable To Secure Commitment to Station Extension
Space News

The European Space Agency (ESA) was unable to win its member governments’ approval of NASA’s proposed five-year extension of operations of the international space station because of an unrelated dispute over financial support for Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch services consortium, ESA and European government officials said….


Russia Led All Launch Providers in 2010, Followed By U.S. and China

Launch Statistics for 2010
(Via Roscosmos)

Total Launches: 74
Successes: 70
Failures: 4

Launch Breakdown

  • Russia — 31 launches (42 percent)
  • United States — 15 launches (20.3 percent)
  • China — 15 launches (20.3 percent)
  • ESA (Arianespace) — 6 launches (8.1 percent)
  • India — 3 launches (4 percent)
  • Japan — 2 launches (2.7 percent)
  • South Korea — 1 launch (1.35 percent)
  • Israel — 1 launch (1.35 percent)

Launch Failures

India — 2 (GSLV)
Russia — 1 (Proton)
Korea — 1 (KSLV-1)

Russian Breakdown

Out of 31 Russia’s launches, 15 have been made by the rockets produced by Khrunichev Space Center, including 12 of heavy-lift Proton. That is two times more than for Proton’s rival, Ariane 5.

Proton has also beat another record, making 29 launches within 29 months.

Arianespace Finishes the Year 6-for-6

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


This evening, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport on a journey to place two telecommunications satellites, Hispasat-1E and Koreasat-6, into their planned transfer orbits. Flight V199 was the sixth Ariane 5 launch of 2010 and the last of the year.


French President Sarkozy Launches €250 Million Ariane 6 Program

Ariane 5

“A Memorandum of Understanding allocating €82.5 million to carrying out preparatory work linked to the post-Ariane-5 next-generation launcher has been signed. This is the first tranche of a €250 million programme financed by the “big loan”. CNES [Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales – French Space Agency] is the contracting authority for this work, which will be entrusted to space industry manufacturers. Thanks to this investment and work, France will contribute effectively to preparation of the future European launchers and support the excellence of the French players in this sector. This programme highlights the support for the strategic industrial sectors provided by the “big loan” which is preparing the future of French industry.”

Read French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s full communiqué concerning the future of his country’s space industry after the break.


Ariane Readied for 200th Launch, Soyuz Heads Toward 1,800

Ariane 5 ECA for flight V184 climb away from the Guiana Space Centre on the evening of 7 July 2008.


Basic build-up of the milestone 200th Ariane for launch is now complete at the Spaceport, marking a new milestone in preparations for an Ariane 5 mission that will loft a European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) next February to service the International Space Station.

During activity in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 ES version of Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse was fitted with its equipment bay, followed by installation of the EPS upper stage.

With these steps completed, the Ariane 5 is ready for transfer to the Final Assembly Building, where the ATV – named after German astronomer/mathematician Johannes Kepler – will be installed.  The Final Assembly Building currently is occupied by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher version, which is waiting to receive its payload of the HISPASAT 1E and KOREASAT 6 telecommunications satellites for a liftoff scheduled on December 28 from French Guiana.


Produced by Rocket Center Progress of Samara (TsSKB-Progress), Soyuz rocket marked its 1765th successful mission on Dec. 15,  TsSKB-Progress DG Alexander Kirilin said at Baikonur. To remind, Soyuz-FG modification injected into orbit Soyuz TMA-20 vehicle with three crew on Dec. 15, at 22.09 MSK.

Kirilin noted that 5 Soyuz modifications are in operation by the Russian Space Industry.

Soyuz-FG is featured by reliability ratio of 0,952.

Another ‘brother’-rocket in the Soyuz family, Soyuz-ST, is slated for its maiden launch from European space port in French Guiana next year.

Soyuz Prepares for its South American Debut

Both Soyuz launchers currently at the Spaceport are shown inside the MIK Launcher Integration Building. The #2 Soyuz now has its four first-stage strap-on boosters installed on the central core. Next to it is the other Soyuz, which was built up earlier this year with the integration of its first, second and third stages – and is installed on the transporter/erector rail car. (Credit: Arianespace)


The second of two Soyuz launchers in French Guiana is undergoing assembly as part of regular maintenance checks that are standard for the Russian-built vehicles in storage awaiting liftoff.

In activity at the Spaceport’s new Soyuz Launcher Integration Building – known by its Russian “MIK” designation – this vehicle’s four first-stage strap-on boosters have been integrated with the Block A core second stage, allowing propulsion system pneumatic testing to be conducted while the vehicle is installed in horizontal jigs.


Carla Bruni, Spouse Visit Bangalore; Agreements Announced With EADS Astrium, Arianespace

Some news on Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India, which included a stop at ISRO and the announcement a pair of commercial agreements:

Much like British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to start his visit to India from Bangalore.

After landing at the HAL Airport, Sarkozy along with his wife Carla Bruni, ministers and business delegates, headed to the ISRO Satellite Centre where he was briefed on the Megha- Tropiques satellite, which is being co-developed by India and France.


Vinci Engine for New Ariane 5 Upper Stage Successfully Fired

Ariane 5

Nov. 10, 2010

The Vinci® rocket engine, developed by Snecma (Safran group) as prime contractor, was successfully ground tested yesterday with its extendible nozzle deployed, under conditions representing an actual flight. Yesterday’s firing test marked a major milestone in the development of this rocket engine, which will power the new upper stage of the Ariane 5 launcher starting in 2016.


Europe’s Vega Launcher Ready for its Closeup

Vega's first stage departs from the Spaceport’s Booster Integration Building at Kourou. (Credit: Arianespace)


A representative P80 first stage for Vega is now on the launch pad in French Guiana, marking a milestone in preparations for next year’s introduction of this lightweight vehicle, which will be operated by Arianespace in commercial missions.

The P80 first stage was rolled out to the Spaceport’s Vega launch zone on October 26 as the initial step in combined testing of Vega with its ground-based infrastructure. This full-scale stage is complete with instrumentation, and has been filled with a simulated load of solid propellant.


Arianespace CEO Confident of Continued Satellite Growth

Ariane 5 ECA for flight V184 climb away from the Guiana Space Centre on the evening of 7 July 2008.


Arianespace is poised to build on its successful 30-year track record as the world’s leading launch services provider – benefitting from a robust payload order book that ensures more than three years of mission activity, and supported by the extension of its launcher family with the introduction of Soyuz and Vega during 2011 at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

This was the outlook provided by Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall at Arianespace’s traditional 2010 World Space Business Week conference press breakfast in Paris, where he provided an overview of the company’s activity and offered his perspective on the satellite market’s future.