53 Smallsats Integrated for Vega’s First Rideshare Mission

Shown during the SSMS payload integration process for Arianespace’s Flight VV16 is the ION CubeSat carrier – a platform that will deploy 12 CubeSats after being placed in orbit by the Vega launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — The 53 satellite passengers for Arianespace’s rideshare flight with its Vega light-lift launcher have been integrated at the Spaceport in French Guiana, marking a key milestone in preparation for the June 18 Proof of Concept mission with Europe’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS).

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Preparations Resume for Vega’s Upcoming Mission with 53 Small Satellites

Arianespace personnel are utilizing smart glasses during certain payload checkout activities for Flight VV16 at the Spaceport in French Guiana, enabling customers to remotely monitor operations performed on satellites that will be orbited this month by the Vega light-lift launcher. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — The launch campaign has resumed for Arianespace’s next mission, which will be the proof-of-concept flight with the Vega launcher’s “ride-share” configuration – known as the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS).

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Arianespace to Resume Launches from French Guiana

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

EVRY_COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Following the measures presented by the French government on April 28 as part of the gradual resumption of activity planned from May 11, and the announcement of a restart of operational activities at the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace confirms its following launch objectives:

  • Flight VV16/SSMS – The first “rideshare” Vega launch, carrying approximately 50 small satellites, in mid-June;
  • Flight VA253 – A dual-payload Ariane 5 mission for two customers, Intelsat and B-SAT, at the end of July.
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Bankrupt OneWeb Owes Arianespace Nearly a Quarter Billion Dollars

OneWeb listed Arianespace as its top creditor with $238,137,447.58 in unsecured debt in a bankruptcy filing on Friday.

The French company is far ahead of the other 29 top unsecured creditors listed in the filing. Other companies in the top 10 include:

  • Qualcomm Technologies: $8,000,000.00
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd: $6,861,336.01
  • Hughes Network Systems: $5,352,750.51
  • Deutsche Bank: $5,200,734.82
  • Wipro Ltd.: $2,470,647.25
  • Willis Towers Watson PLC: $1,899,895.09
  • Viasat: $1,225,000.00
  • Nokia Corporation: $988,051.09
  • Redapt, Inc.: 662,275.85.

Arianespace released a brief statement on the bankruptcy:

Arianespace is aware of the Chapter 11 filing by several OneWeb companies in US Bankruptcy Court in the state of New York (USA) on March 27, 2020.

As Arianespace is in a contractual relationship with OneWeb, the company was consequently listed among the creditors in the document filed on March 27.

Arianespace will monitor the progress of this procedure in accordance with its rights and commitments, and has no further comment to make at this time.

In its filing, OneWeb said it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. The company estimated its liabilities and assets at between $1 billion and $10 billion apiece.

OneWeb has laid off all but a small number of employees who are overseeing operations of its 74 satellites. The company was building a constellation of satellites to provide global broadband services.

ESA, European Commission Pre-order Four More Ariane 6 Launches

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has finalized its preorder for four more launches on Ariane 6, along with an initial payment.

Using Ariane 62, the light version of the new European launcher, these missions will be carried out on behalf of the European Commission to continue the deployment and operational ramp-up of the high-performance Galileo satellite navigation system.

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Coronavirus and ESA’s Duty of Care

PARIS (ESA PR) — With significant developments in the coronavirus situation and recent directives in our host nations, ESA has taken steps ensure the operation of its critical tasks while carefully reinforcing its duty of care and social responsibility.

Last week, many ESA staff and contractors were advised to stay at home and take up teleworking, but the weekend saw border restrictions, closure of schools, shops and centres of social activity in France, Spain and the Netherlands, and even more stringent measures in other host nations. Pre-empting these events, ESA decided to apply this condition to the majority of ESA personnel across all establishments.

Several weeks ago, ESA’s management team began the process to confirm the list of critical tasks that ESA needs to protect, and identify the key resources that are required to support them, should the response to the coronavirus pandemic call for more stringent measures designed to reduce social interaction.

ESA Director General Jan Wörner said, “The health and welfare of our employees, their families and their communities remain my top priority. ESA has a duty of care to them all. But at the same time, we must also protect the core tasks of the Agency. My business priority has to be to ensure that these critical tasks continue uninterrupted.”

Only key workers required to support the formally identified critical tasks will be active at ESA sites, with all others now teleworking wherever possible both to reduce unnecessary social interaction and to allow maximum focus on critical tasks.

The ESA Council scheduled for 17/18 March was cancelled, but ESA management is working to identify the best process to allow executive committee approval of actions if necessary. Business continuity in the financial and procurement areas is being maintained.

The European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, is also adopting significant restrictions on operations and access. In compliance with measures decided by the French government, launch campaigns under way at the centre have been suspended. These launch preparations will resume as soon as health conditions allow. See the Arianespace press release.

OneWeb Confirms Third Launch; Flight Dedicated to the Late Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov

Mission Overview

  • OneWeb’s third launch and second of 2020 is scheduled for March 21st from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
  • Arianespace will launch 34 OneWeb satellites, bringing the OneWeb constellation to 74 satellites.
  • OneWeb’s launch theme will commemorate the late Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who became the first person to walk in space 55 years ago this month.

LONDON, March 17, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, confirmed its next launch will take place on Saturday, March 21st at 17:06 (GMT) / 1:06 PM (EDT) / 22:06 (local time) from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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COVID-19: Guiana Space Center Suspends Launch Campaigns

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to fully implement the measures decided by the French government, launch campaigns underway at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana have been suspended.

These launch preparations will resume as soon as allowed by health conditions.

This exceptional measure is designed to protect the health of employees and the local population, while also maintaining the security needed to prepare for scheduled launches.

Arianespace, French space agency CNES and all companies involved at CSG are currently overseeing operations to place launchers and satellites in safe standby condition, in line with standard procedures.

Ariane 5 Launches 2 Satellites

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Satellites for two operators based in the Asia-Pacific region – Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) – were successfully deployed to geostationary transfer orbit on Arianespace’s latest Ariane 5 mission.

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Ariane 5 Orbits Two Satellites to “Bridge the Digital Divide”

The Ariane 5 for Flight VA251 departs the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone with its EUTELSAT KONNECT and GSAT-30 satellite passengers. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace opened its 2020 launch activity with a dual-satellite Ariane 5 mission from French Guiana that successfully placed EUTELSAT KONNECT and GSAT-30 into geostationary transfer orbit.

Conducted from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch site, today’s mission delivered an estimated payload lift performance of 7,888 kg.

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Arianespace Looks Back on Solid 2019

Ariane 5 booster lifts off. (Credit: Arianespace)

COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace recorded a solid operational and business performance in 2019 by orbiting 24 satellites with nine launches, while signing 14 launch services contracts during the year for a total of 44 satellites ranging in mass from six kilograms to nearly six metric tons – marking the flexibility of the company’s commercial offer.

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Arianespace Looks Break Launch Records, Debut New Boosters in 2020

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace is heading into 2020 fully prepared to capitalize on the latest commercial opportunities for Ariane 5 and to succeed with Vega’s return-to-flight, planned for March. Arianespace also is aiming to set three new records:

  • For the number of launches during the year, with up to 12 opportunities identified from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, along with the first flights of Vega C and Ariane 6; and eight more from the cosmodromes at Baikonur and Vostochny. (from these two cosmodromes, this launch cadence could be augmented based on satellite availability),
  • For the number of satellites placed into orbit – more than 300 – taking into account the continued deployment of OneWeb satellites and the SSMS rideshare mission with Vega, and
  • For the number of launch pads at its service: four at the Guiana Space Center (for Ariane 5, Ariane 6, Soyuz and Vega/Vega C), along with one each at the Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes for Soyuz.
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ESA Signs Contract with Arianespace for Euclid Launch

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the signature of a launch services contract for the Euclid satellite – with the mission’s timeframe for liftoff starting in mid-2022 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).

Euclid mission will be compatible with Ariane 62 and Soyuz.

Euclid is a medium-class astronomy and astrophysics space mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 scientific program to investigate the history of the expansion of our Universe over the past 10 billion years, looking into the current acceleration of cosmic expansion fueled by a mysterious component referred to as dark energy, and the growth of cosmic structures driven by the presence of dark matter.

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Ariane’s 250th Mission Launches 2 Communications Satellites

Ariane 5 booster lifts off. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully orbited two geostationary satellites: TIBA-1, for Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of the Government of Egypt; and GX5 for the operator Inmarsat.

The launch took place on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 18:23 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

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Arianespace, ESA Announce EarthCARE Launch Contract

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the signature of a launch services contract with a Soyuz launch vehicle for the EarthCARE satellite.

EarthCARE (Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) satellite – the sixth mission in ESA’s Earth Explorer program – will advance our understanding of the role clouds and aerosols play in reflecting incident solar radiation back into space and trapping infrared radiation emitted from Earth’s surface.

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