Press Release

Competiveness, quality and launcher family evolution are the keywords for Arianespace in 2014 and beyond

By SpaceRef Editor
January 7, 2014
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Arianespace begins the company’s 30th year of launch operations by setting its sights high in 2014, benefitting from a capable launcher family and a record order book, along with enhancements that will accelerate the mission pace and further improve competitiveness.

Meeting international reporters for the traditional New Year’s kickoff press conference today, Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel said the upcoming 12 months will build on Arianespace’s unprecedented commercial results and its eight mission successes in 2013, with a goal in 2014 of beating the company’s all-time high of 10 annual launches logged in 2012.

“We’ve taken important steps that are making Arianespace even more competitive and more reactive through continuous improvement while listening to the needs and expectations of our customers,” he explained during the breakfast briefing in Paris.

Among the key actions already taken, Israel cited the go-ahead for an increased-volume payload fairing on Ariane 5, the approval for a new fueling facility at the Spaceport’s Soyuz launch complex, the application of resources in reducing the time between launches in French Guiana, along with the new production batch buys of Ariane 5 and Vega.

“Building on our track record of mission success, these steps contribute to Arianespace’s flexibility, quality, and the ability to compete on price,” he added.  “And my strategy is to ensure our company is increasingly entrepreneurial as it continues to adapt to the market evolution.”

Two additional elements emphasized by Israel are the Ariane 5 ME (Mid-life Evolution) and follow-on Ariane 6 version, both of which he said will well-position Arianespace for an eventual market evolution to electric propulsion for geostationary orbit telecommunications satellites, and enable the company to better accommodate the category of medium-sized payloads.

Arianespace’s current order book provides payloads for up to 14 launch opportunities in 2014, with the actual number of missions to reflect the availability of satellites. “Our objective is 12 missions, composed of six Ariane 5 launches, four Soyuz missions and two Vega flights,” he said. “We’ve worked with the Spaceport to have its resources ready to support this volume of activity.”

The busy 2014 launch manifest will begin early next month with Flight VA217, an Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission carrying two geostationary telecommunications satellites: ABS-2 for global operator ABS, which is to become one of the most powerful commercial satellites launched in the Eastern Hemisphere; and Athena-Fidus, for the defense requirements of France and Italy.

A number of the year’s other launches will be at the service of European institutions, confirming Arianespace’s role in ensuring Europe’s independent access to space. The 2014 payloads include Sentinel 1A – the first new C-band imaging radar satellite to continue Earth environmental imagery in the European Commission-headed Copernicus program, which is a partnership with the European Space Agency and the European Environment Agency.

Also targeted in 2014 is Arianespace’s continued deployment of satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system; its orbiting of the fifth and final European Automated Transfer Vehicle as a follow-on to previous missions with this International Space Station resupply spacecraft in 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2008; launch of the Sicral 2 military telecommunications satellite for France and Italy; as well a mission with the European Space Agency’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) atmospheric reentry demonstration.

SpaceRef staff editor.