Tag: Ariane 5

Arianespace Wants to Compete in American Market

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Ariane 5

Ariane 5

Arianespace wants the U.S. market opened so that it can offer its launch vehicles to American customers.

Arianespace has called for an opening of the U.S. government market to international launch services competition, with the company ready to bid for such opportunities.

Speaking at the Satellite 2014 conference in Washington, D.C. today, Chairman & CEO Stéphane Israël said European governments have held competitions for civil and military satellites in which non-European launch services companies have openly competed and won contracts.

“Unfortunately, it is not completely open here in the United States – and Arianespace is fully ready to compete in the institutional markets everywhere – including the U.S.,” he said.  “We are quite sure we would be in a position to offer the best solutions for customers and the taxpayers.  And if it comes to a question of employment, we are ready to see how we can ‘Americanize’ our launcher.”

Israël noted that Arianespace continues to target a potential record number of missions in 2014 – with up to 12 missions involving its family of heavy-lift, medium and light-lift launchers.  He underscored that each of these vehicles – the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega – are planned to handle both institutional and commercial launches during the year.

It’s not entirely clear how the Ariane 5 could be “Americanized” sufficiently to count as a domestic launch vehicle.

Busy Month of Launches Begins on Saturday

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Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, launches flawlessly at 1:40 a.m. EST on November 20, 1998, from Kazahkstan (Credit: NASA)

Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, launches flawlessly at 1:40 a.m. EST on November 20, 1998, from Kazahkstan (Credit: NASA)

A busy launch month begins this weekend with the flight of a Russian Proton rocket from Kazakhstan on Saturday and an early-morning lift-off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Sunday carrying a Dragon freighter bound for the International Space Station.

International launch providers are planning 11 launches through April 15.  The U.S. plans four launches while the Russians are planning three, the Europeans two, and India one. One of the European launches will involve a Russian Soyuz rocket that will fly from the European launch base in South America. The final flight during this period will be of a Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket, which is a joint Russian-Ukraine program.

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ESA Alters Procurement Practices for Ariane 6 Program

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Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

ESA has tossed aside one of its key spending practices — juste retour — in an attempt to produce a new Ariane 6 launch vehicle that can compete with cheaper ones offered by SpaceX and Chinese and Indian providers.

Juste retour (“fair return”) is the space agency’s way of spreading work around to companies in different nations in proportion to what national governments  put into a program. The approach produced the highly reliable but expensive Ariane V, whose components and systems are produced throughout Europe.

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CNES Figures Out What SpaceX Got Right, But Can Europe Respond?

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Jean-Yves Le Gall

Jean-Yves Le Gall

Below is a rough translation of a key portion via Google Translate:

If we compare the launcher SpaceX to its competitors, it differs in three major points. First, its perfect adaptation to launch useful governmental charges: these are the satellites from NASA and the Department of Defense who are an important part of its backlog and more of its income to the extent the government U.S. agrees to pay its own more expensive than what is charged to commercial customers launches.

Then its smaller size and ease of implementation, which lead to very low operating costs and de facto make it terribly competitive to launch commercial satellites: the last two launches of the Falcon 9 has achieved a return United States in this market, they were absent for several years, given the lack of competitiveness and availability of conventional launchers.

Finally, the technical definition and its industrial organization, from the beginning, have been designed with the aim of to minimize development costs and operating: instead of being a launcher at the forefront of technology, the Falcon 9 uses engines proven, easy to technology development and especially inexpensive to industrialize, and the launcher is made ​​by a very limited number of subcontractors, which limits the production costs.

Le Gall says that Europe need to adapt to this changing world as it develops the Ariane 6 launch vehicle to replace the Ariane 5.

ESA Faces Large Cost for Ariane 5 Upgrade, New Ariane 6 Rocket

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Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

The preliminary cost estimates are in the planned upgrade of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its Ariane 6 successor, and the one general conclusion can already be drawn:

Europe is in deep trouble.

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Arianespace to Report Small Loss for 2013, Looks Forward to Busy 2014

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

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

Despite a government subsidy of 100 million euros, Arianespace expects to lose money in 2013 when all the accounts are totalled up. However, the European launch company is looking toward a record breaking year in 2014 as it works through a large manifest, Space News reports.

Arianespace launch consortium expects to report a ‘slight loss’ for 2013 following a revenue drop of some 27 percent compared to 2012 as a result of lower-than-planned launch activity, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel said Jan. 7.

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EADS Reorganizes, Acknowledges Success of SpaceX

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Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Europe’s largest defense and aerospace company, EADS, has recently restructured and re-branded its operations and announced a series of planned layoffs designed to make the company leaner and more competitive. In the process, officials have acknowledged the competitive pressures placed on it by SpaceX.

EADS re-organized itself as the Airbus Group, with three divisions that include Airbus, Airbus Defence & Space, and Airbus Helicopters. The Airbus Defence & Space group includes the space company formerly known as Astrium.

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End of the Year Progress Report on Ariane 5 ME

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Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)

Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)

By Thilo Kranz
DLR

Nothing is more gratifying than starting the holidays with good news! A good example of this is ESA’s Ariane 5 programme, which has taken some important steps in the closing days of the current year – the ordering of a further 18 Ariane 5 ECA launchers for the existing Ariane operations, the successful completion of ‘verification key points’ for the Ariane 5 ME ‘Midlife Evolution’ development programme and the start of construction work on a new upper stage tank facility in Bremen.

As part of the preparations for the decisions in the launchers area, which will be made at the ESA Ministerial Council Meeting in Luxembourg towards the end of 2014, the Ariane 5ME development programme introduced a milestone to evaluate the current status. An expert panel, consisting of representatives of the space agencies ESA, CNES and DLR, as well as industry, reviewed the project intensively over a two-week period. The objective was to determine whether the technical, planning and commercial project goals are being met and whether the programme costs are under control.

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Arianespace Signs Ariane 5, Vega Contracts

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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.

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SpaceX Competition Has Arianespace Looking at New Pricing

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Ariane 5

Ariane 5

Space News reports that Arianespace is looking to counter the growing threat from SpaceX in the communications satellite launch market:

The Arianespace commercial launch consortium is telling its customers it is open to reducing the cost of flights for lighter satellites on the Ariane 5 rocket in response to the challenge posed by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel said Nov. 25.

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