Press Release

Arianespace Japan Week 2015: 29 years in Japan

By SpaceRef Editor
April 9, 2015
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Since opening its Tokyo office in 1986, Arianespace has become a major partner with Japanese manufacturers and operators. During its annual Japan Week conference in Tokyo, Arianespace confirmed its continued global leadership in the launch services market.

Arianespace and Japan, a major partnership

Arianespace opened its Tokyo office in 1986 and has enjoyed a strong presence in the country since then. Its first launch for Japan was on March 6, 1989, when it orbited the first Japanese commercial telecommunications satellite, JCSAT-1, for the operator now known as SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

Since this initial success, Arianespace has launched 26 other commercial satellites out of the 36 open to competitive bidding. It currently has two SKY Perfect JSAT satellites in its launch manifest. Arianespace has maintained its position as the benchmark launch service provider for the country’s two leading operators, SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and B-SAT Corporation.

Arianespace has also launched five satellites built by Japanese firms: three for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and two for NEC/NT-Space.

At the same time, Arianespace and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have developed an innovative partnership, by jointly offering reciprocal launch services by Ariane 5 and H-IIA. This arrangement enables the partners to ensure the launch schedule for commercial satellites in case one of the two launchers experiences technical difficulties.

During the press conference today in Tokyo, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Over the last 29 years, Japan has clearly become a major partner with Arianespace, and the country’s operators are among our most loyal customers. We are extremely proud of having launched a large majority of the Japanese commercial satellites now in orbit, and we hope to maintain and intensify this special relationship, which is an honor for us.”

The benchmark in launch services

Based on three major achievements in 2014, all keys to a successful future – a record number of launches, a rebalanced Ariane 5 backlog, and the decision to develop a next-generation Ariane 6 fully adapted to upcoming challenges – Arianespace has confirmed its global commercial and operational leadership in this sector.

Arianespace’s objective in 2015 is to equal the record of 11 launches in 2014, or even surpass it if satellites are ready on time. It expects to carry out six or seven Ariane 5 launches this year, plus two or three on Soyuz and three with the Vega light launcher. Last year’s record enabled the company to significantly increase sales in 2014, posting a total of 1.399 billion euros.

The first launch of 2015 was carried out on February 11, as a Vega rocket lofted the IXV, Europe’s atmospheric reentry demonstrator, into a suborbital trajectory. The second launch was on March 27, with a Soyuz orbiting two new satellites in the Galileo navigation constellation. The third is planned for April 15: an Ariane 5 will boost two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), THOR 7 and SICRAL 2. In fact, Arianespace calls on all three launch vehicles in its family to support a wide variety of applications, for both commercial and government customers.

A record backlog of orders

Drawing on a complete range of launch vehicles, with proven reliability and availability, Arianespace has already won four commercial launch contracts in the first quarter of 2015, out of the seven open to competition: GEO-KOMPSAT-2A (GK2A) and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B (GK2B) with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), and SES-12 and SES-15 with the operator SES. Arianespace was also chosen to launch the EDRS-C satellite, to be operated by Airbus Defence and Space.

Arianespace also signed launch contracts for several satellites to be boosted into Sun-synchronous orbits: two Falcon Eye satellites for the United Arab Emirates, a Skybox batch of satellites for Skybox Imaging, and PeruSat-1 for the Peruvian government.

Arianespace now has launch contracts with 35 customers, equal to more than three years of business, and worth over 4.4 billion euros. This backlog includes 40 satellites to be launched by Ariane 5 into geostationary transfer orbit (20 dual launches), four dedicated Ariane 5 launches, five Soyuz launches and 11 Vega launches.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 20 shareholders and the European Space Agency, the company offers an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. Arianespace is the only operator in the world capable of launching any mass to any orbit from the Guiana Space Center. As of April 9, 2015, 221 Ariane launches, 37 Soyuz launches (11 at the Guiana Space Centre and 26 at Baikonur with Starsem) and four Vega launches have been performed. The company’s headquarters is in Evry, near Paris, and has local offices in Washington DC (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore.

SpaceRef staff editor.