Tag: Ariane 5

Israel Confident Arianespace Can Compete With SpaceX

16 Comments
Stephane Israel (Credit: Arianespace)

Stephane Israel (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace seems confident it can weather la tempête de SpaceX:

The head of Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium on May 12 said the company can beat competitor SpaceX in the open market with a euro/dollar exchange rate at today’s levels and the planned 5-6 percent reduction in Ariane 5 rocket production and launch costs.

Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel also said a fresh canvassing of large commercial satellite fleet operators has found that SpaceX’s planned reuse of its Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage — designed to cut Falcon launch costs — at this point presents no real threat to Arianespace.

The Ariane 6 rocket agreed to by European governments last December, he said, has sufficient commercial attributes of its own to maintain its commercial market position against a partially reusable Falcon 9, Israel told the Economic Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, or parliament….

Israel said Arianespace and Airbus Safran Launchers, a joint venture that owns a 39-percent stake in Arianespace and is prime contractor for the current Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets, have agreed to find production and operating savings of 5-6 percent.

He said those savings should be enough to keep SpaceX at bay if the euro remains about where it is now versus the U.S. dollar.

Read the full story.

Arianespace Snags 4 Launch Contracts

Comment

Arianespace_logoConferences are great places to announce business deals. Satellite 2015 in Washington, D.C., was no exception for Arianspace. The European company announced the following launch deals this week:

  • a block of high resolution imaging satellites for Skybox Imaging aboard a Vega launch vehicle in 2016;
  • one Airbus EDRS-C satellite as part of the SpaceDataHighway system aboard an Ariane 5 booster in the first quarter in 2017; and,
  • two Airbus Falcon Eye satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), using two Vega (or Soyuz) launchers in 2018 and 2019.

“We are extremely proud to play a part in deploying Skybox’s satellite imaging constellation.” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “The Vega launch system has already achieved four flawless flights for commercial and government customers. This new contract with Skybox marks our first U.S. customer of the Vega and adds to Vega’s order book of nine small satellites to be launched in the coming three years.”

Continue reading ‘Arianespace Snags 4 Launch Contracts’

Safran Injects $1 Billion into Rocket Partnership With Airbus

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

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

Airbus and Safran have ramped up their launch vehicle partnership:

Airbus and Safran said their joint venture to take over design and production of Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets is expected to be in full operations by late 2015 following a Safran payment to Airbus of 800 million euros ($1 billion) in cash.

The transfer, both companies said, will be necessary for French aerospace-engine builder Safran to maintain a 50 percent stake in the new company, which was created in January and is called Airbus Safran Launchers.

In conference calls with investors Feb. 25 and Feb. 27, the two companies said that in addition to assuming the civil-launcher and strategic missiles work of the two companies, the joint venture by late 2015 is expected to have purchased the French government’s entire 34 percent ownership stake in the Arianespace commercial launch consortium.

Ultimately the joint venture is expected to have some 4,500 employees. For now, it is only 450 people — 300 from Airbus, the rest from Safran.

Read the full story.

Arianespace Beats Out SpaceX for 2 Launch Contracts

38 Comments
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

Arianespace seems to be holding its own in the competition with SpaceX, winning two new launch contracts this week.

The South Korean government has selected Europe’s Arianespace to launch two geostationary-orbit meteorological and environment-monitoring satellites in 2018 and 2019, Arianespace and the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced.

The contract bidding featured a head-to-head competition between Evry, France-based Arianespace and its Ariane 5 rocket and its principal rival, SpaceX of Hawthorne, California and the Falcon 9 rocket….

While it did not explicitly say what tipped its decision for Ariane 5, the ministry’s Feb. 11 statement ahead of the contract’s signature – Arianespace announced the contract Feb. 13 – suggested that Ariane 5’s reliability record of 47 consecutive successes of the current vehicle configuration since 2005 was a factor.

Arianespace and SpaceX equally divided about all the commercial satellite launch contracts in 2014, each with nine wins for the year.

Read the full story.

Arianespace Looks Forward

Comments
Stephane Israel (Credit: Arianespace)

Stephane Israel (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Building on its record year of mission operations in 2014 – and supported by European decisions to develop the heavy-lift successor Ariane 6, as well as an enhanced lightweight Vega C vehicle – Arianespace is looking to the future with confidence as a leader in the launch services marketplace.

Speaking to reporters during the company’s traditional New Year’s press conference in Paris this morning, Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël underscored Arianespace’s ability to deliver for its customers in 2014 – which is to continue with an intense 12-month schedule of launches in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Arianespace Looks Forward’

Arianespace Wraps Up Record Launch Year

21 Comments
Arianespace’s Soyuz lifts off from the Spaceport’s ELS launch facility during the daytime launch with four more connectivity satellites for O3b Networks.  (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace’s Soyuz lifts off from the Spaceport’s ELS launch facility during the daytime launch with four more connectivity satellites for O3b Networks. (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace continues the momentum for O3b Networks,
and sets new operational benchmarks on its latest Soyuz success.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Thursday’s medium-lift Soyuz mission, which deployed the next four satellites for O3b Networks’ pioneering connectivity service on a flight performed from the Spaceport in French Guiana, wrapped up an historic 12 months of commercial launch services for Arianespace.

The 2-hr., 22-min. flight began with the propulsion of Soyuz’ basic three-stage launch vehicle, and was followed by multiple burns of its Fregat upper stage. O3b Networks’ four satellites were released in two phases from a dispenser system atop the Fregat stage.

Continue reading ‘Arianespace Wraps Up Record Launch Year’

Airbus Plan to Launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 Criticized

51 Comments
Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Airbus Defence and Space’s negotiations with SpaceX to launch a European communications satellite on a Falcon 9 has not gone over well in France:

The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus’ negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket.

“The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of ‘European preference’ for its government launches,” Gournac said. “This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It’s an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6.”

The satellite in question is part of the European Data Relay Service, EDRS, which is developing two nodes in geostationary orbit, both on satellites with conventional telecommunications payloads as well, to use lasers to communicate with low-orbiting observation satellites to speed data return.

Read the full story.

ESA Ministers Agree to Build Ariane 6 & Vega-C, Continue ISS Support

20 Comments
Credit: ESA

Credit: ESA

European space ministers have agreed to spend about $10 billion over the next decade to develop the new Ariane 6 launcher and to upgrade the Vega launcher in what ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain called a “revolution” in the way rockets are developed.

Continue reading ‘ESA Ministers Agree to Build Ariane 6 & Vega-C, Continue ISS Support’

ESA to Abandon Ariane 5 Upgrade, Move Directly to Ariane 6

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

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

Space News reports on Europe’s plans for a new launch vehicle to replace Ariane 5:

The German government has agreed to drop its demand that Europe develop a long-planned upgrade of today’s Ariane 5 rocket and instead proceed with a new-generation Ariane 6 that borrows heavily on Ariane 5 technology, Germany’s space minister said.

The decision ends an impasse that has bedeviled the European Space Agency for more than two years as it prepares for a Dec. 2 conference of its governments.

While noting that certain funding details and a clarification of industry’s risk-taking guarantee remain to be ironed out, Brigitte Zypries said Germany and France now agree to back Ariane 6 and to scrap the Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (ME) rocket that European governments have been developing for several years.

“We have found a compromise that is OK for both countries, for the other participating states and also for industry,” Zypries said in a Nov. 15 emailed response to SpaceNews questions. “The important elements are the joint intention to develop a new launcher as part of a concept based mainly on Ariane 5 ME technology and Vega, and a new launcher governance.”

Read the full story.

Satellite Operators Tell ESA to Stop Bickering, Move Fast on Building Ariane 6

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

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

Space News reports that European satellite fleet operators want ESA to move forward quickly with building an Ariane 5 successor:

A group including the world’s largest commercial satellite fleet operators has written the European Space Agency urging that it approve a new-generation Ariane 6 in time for a first launch in 2019 or face relegating the European rocket to commercial also-ran status.

The letter to ESA Director Jean-Jacques Dordain makes clear that these fleet operators have a ho-hum view of the Ariane 5 ME vehicle that ESA governments are weighing alongside a new-generation Ariane 6.

Given the advent of electric propulsion and the dramatic launch-cost reduction offered by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the operators say, the new Ariane 6 needs to be in service by 2019 or face the risk that Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium will be permanently sidelined.

The letter was signed by six members of the European Satellite Operators Association. Signatories included the chief executives of Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Hispasat and HellasSat.

That’s a pretty weighty group. Maybe it will break the impasse over what to do next.

Ariane 5 ME is an interim step that would allow the Ariane 5 to carry heavier payloads. The launch vehicle carries one large communications satellite and a lighter one.