Arianespace on Track for Further Success in 2015
After a year marked by three achievements that are key to Arianespace's future – a record number of launches, the rebalancing of the Ariane 5 order book, and the green light for a new-generation Ariane 6 that fully addresses upcoming challenges – the company is determined to confirm its leadership in 2015, while continuing to work with partners on enhancing the competitiveness of its launch systems.
2014: from success to success
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Arianespace carried out 11 launches from the Guiana Space Center in 2014, a record since the introduction of the family in 2011, clearly confirming its operational leadership. These 11 missions included:
- Six Ariane 5 launches, making a total of 63 successful launches in a row.
- Four Soyuz rockets were launched from the Guiana Space Center. An orbital injection anomaly occurred during the VS09 launch carrying Galileo satellites. However, the design flaw on the Fregat upper stage was identified by an independent Inquiry Board, and it has been corrected, allowing a successful resumption with the launch for O3b Networks from the Guiana Space Center on December 18, 2014.
- One Vega launch, the third successful mission since its introduction in 2012.
Arianespace set an all-time record in 2014, lofting 77.1 metric tons into orbit (23 satellites), and also passing the mark of 500 satellites launched since its founding.
Based on this performance, Arianespace logged record revenues for the year which should exceed 1.367 billion euros.
A rebalanced order book, and three years of guaranteed business
Arianespace signed 14 launch contracts in 2014:
- Ariane 5 ECA and ES: nine geostationary satellites and two launch contracts for Galileo satellites.
- Soyuz: two launch contracts, for Sentinel-1B and O3b F3.
- Vega: one contract for the OPTSAT 3000 satellite, in a dual launch with the Earth observation satellite Venμs.
Arianespace won nine out of the 18 contracts available in the commercial geostationary satellite market, giving it a 50% share. Furthermore, this performance was even more impressive, given the fact that Arianespace did not compete for several contracts due to of lack of slots in its launch manifest.
In particular, Arianespace won eight small geostationary satellite launch contracts out of the 13 open to competition. This allowed it to rebalance its Ariane 5 order book, confirming Arianespace market forecasts and ensuring the long-term viability of its dual launch strategy.
Current contracts with 29 customers ensure more than three years of launch business for Arianespace, and amount to total revenues over 4.1 billion euros:
- 22 Ariane 5 launches, including 35 satellites to be launched into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) on 18 launches, and four dedicated launches.
- Six Soyuz launches.
- Nine Vega launches.
Launcher procurement continuity
Arianespace now has a total of 58 launchers on order ensuring for its needs up to 2019, clearly reflecting its confidence in the future: 32 Ariane 5, 13 Soyuz and 13 Vega.
With Ariane 6 and Vega C, the future of Europe's launch industry is now guaranteed, thanks to massive investments by ESA member states.
Approved at ESA's ministerial-level conference in Luxembourg on December 2, Ariane 6 fully matches government requirements in Europe and the needs of the commercial market for the next decade as forecasted by Arianespace and its customers. With a first launch planned as early as 2020, Ariane 6, along with the upgraded Vega C, will ensure independent access to space for Europe, and allow Arianespace to maintain its leadership in the commercial launch market.
Priorities in 2015
Objective: at least 11 launches
Arianespace aims to match the record of 11 launches in 2014 -- and even surpass this record if all satellites are ready on time -- with six to seven Ariane 5 launches, two by Soyuz and three by Vega.
The first mission of the year is slated for February 11, 2015: Vega will be used to inject Europe's reentry demonstrator, IXV, into a suborbital trajectory.
Focus on Europe and government customers
The company will marshal its entire launcher family in 2015 to carry out launches for European institutions and governments.
- European Commission: continued deployment of the space segment of Copernicus (with the Sentinel-2A launch by Vega) and the Galileo constellation.
- ESA: launch of the IXV demonstrator and the Lisa Pathfinder scientific satellite.
- Eumetsat, the European Meteorological Satellite organization: launch of MSG-4 in mid-2015.
- French and Italian defense ministries: launch of the Sicral 2 military telecommunications satellite.
Commercial launch leadership
Arianespace plans to confirm its leadership in the commercial satellite launch market, based on a dozen geostationary telecom satellites already included in the Ariane 5 ECA launch manifest for the year.
Arianespace plans to win a maximum number of contracts for commercial satellite launches in 2015, against the backdrop of a dynamic market that offers a good balance between large and small satellites.
It also expects to book new orders for both Vega and Soyuz.
The completion of two projects to enhance customer service
Two projects launched in 2013 will be completed by the summer of 2015:
- Adaptation of Ariane 5 ECA: to keep pace with the growing size of geostationary telecom satellites, the payload volume under the fairing is being increased without in any way penalizing performance.
- The New Filling Hall, dedicated to propellant loading on the Fregat upper stage of Soyuz. It will provide more flexibility for the Ariane, Vega and Soyuz launch campaigns.
A competitiveness imperative, even prior to the advent of Ariane 6, met via new governance
Arianespace will take a full-fledged role in the continuous improvement of the competitiveness of the launcher industry and in its revamped governance, which is indispensable to meeting cost reduction objectives. The creation in 2014 of the new integrated joint venture, Airbus Safran Launchers, marked a first major step in this process.
Source : Arianespace - view original press release