Tag: Ariane 5

Arianespace to Launch Japanese Satellite

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

Evry, France, September 14, 2015 (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace announced today that it was selected by SSL to launch the BSAT-4a satellite for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) of Japan.

BSAT-4a will be launched by an Ariane 5 in late 2017 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, as part of a turnkey contract between California-based manufacturer SSL and the Japanese operator B-SAT.

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Avio Signs Contract for Vega C Development

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

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

COLLEFERRO, Italy (AVIO PR) — Pierluigi Pirrelli, Chief Executive Officer of ELV, and Gaële Winters, ESA Director of Launchers, European Space Agency, signed today  in Paris the contract for the development of VEGA C. Other two contracts were signed today by ESA, one for the Ariane 6 new generation launcher and one for its launch base.

The signing ceremony was held at ESA headquarters in Paris at the presence of the newly-appointed Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner, and of the representatives of the major European national space agencies, including representatives of ASI and of the representatives of the main industries in the launcher business segment.

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SpaceWorks Review Finds Sharp Increase in Smallsat Launches


Excerpts From
2015 Small Satellite Market Observations
Full Presentation

Developed by:

Ms. Elizabeth Buchen
Director, Engineering Economics Group
SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI)
Atlanta, GA


SpaceWorks’ 2014 Projection estimated between 140 and 143 nano/microsatellites across all sectors would launch globally in 2014; 158 nano/microsatellites were actually launched. This represented an increase of nearly 72% compared to 2013.


In 2014, 107 commercial nano/microsatellites (1-50 kg) launched and thousands of commercial small satellites (101-500 kg) are planned for launch over the next fifteen years. Recent multi-million and multi-billion dollar investments in various ventures confirm the commercial sector’s continued interest in the nano/microsatellite and small satellite industries.
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Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program

Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Proton rocket falls to Earth at Baikonur in July 2013. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Sixteen botched launches in six years.

That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.

The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:

  • 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
  • 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
  • complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
  • 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
  • an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

The table below shows the full extent of the damage.

Continue reading ‘Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program’

Israel Confident Arianespace Can Compete With SpaceX

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.

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Arianespace Snags 4 Launch Contracts


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.”

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Safran Injects $1 Billion into Rocket Partnership With Airbus

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.

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Arianespace Beats Out SpaceX for 2 Launch Contracts

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.

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Arianespace Looks Forward

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.

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Arianespace Wraps Up Record Launch Year

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.

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Airbus Plan to Launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 Criticized

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.

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

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

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.”

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

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.

Discord Continues Over Future of Ariane Launch System

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

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

As SpaceX continues to notch successful launches and sign new customers, Europe’s two largest contributors to ESA’s budget remain divided on the future of the Ariane launch vehicle:

The French and German governments remain so far apart on a future space-launch policy for Europe that officials are now privately talking about canceling a December conference of European space ministers or stripping it of concrete decisions.

The basic division remains despite the German government’s alignment with the French view that Europe needs a lower-cost rocket to maintain its viability in the commercial market — which in turn provides European governments with a viable launch industry.

Despite the consensus over the longer term, the two sides remain split on whether European Space Agency governments should spend 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to complete work on a new upper stage for the existing Ariane 5 rocket, which could fly in 2018-2019, or abandon the upgrade to focus spending on a new Ariane 6 rocket, whose development would cost upwards of 3 billion euros over 7-8 years.

Read the full story at Space News.