Paris, France (SPX) Jan 06, 2011
Arianespace will use the "world's best operational launch team" to meet its goal of performing a planned total of 12 missions in 2011, when the expanded launcher family of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega will be operating at the service of a growing international customer base.
During his traditional New Year's kickoff press conference in Paris today, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said the number 12 is a key indicator of his company's upcoming activity this year - as well as for its success in 2010.
The scheduled 12 flights for 2011 will follow the 12 telecommunications satellites launched by Ariane 5 last year. Arianespace also will benefit from a record order book backlog, which grew in 2010 through the new contracts logged for 12 Ariane 5 payloads - along with orders booked for an equal number of passengers to be orbited by Soyuz.
Arianespace's launch manifest for the New Year is composed of six Ariane 5 missions, along with five flights with Soyuz and one Vega mission. "This clearly is a challenge, but we are ready to respond with the world's best launch team - which continues to meet our customers' mission requirements," Le Gall told international journalists at this morning's press breakfast.
Launch activity in 2011 will open with Ariane 5's milestone February 15 flight from the Spaceport, which is to orbit the second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for Europe. "This mission is extremely important, as the ATV will provide vital servicing for the International Space Station, and it also will mark the 200th flight of an Ariane launcher," Le Gall explained.
The first two Soyuz missions from French Guiana are planned after mid-year - opening a new chapter in the long history of this Russian-built medium-lift vehicle. Arianespace is scheduled to assume operational responsibility of the Spaceport's new Soyuz launch pad in the spring, allowing final validations and launch rehearsal activity to be completed at the facility.
In addition, three other Soyuz flights for Arianespace are slated from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome during 2011, lofting clusters of six Globalstar second-generation satellites on each of these missions.
The lightweight Vega launcher will make its French Guiana debut with an introductory flight from the Spaceport in the second half of 2011. Arianespace is to take over the operational duties at the refurbished Vega launch facility in June.
Le Gall said Arianespace is once again entering the busy New Year from a position of strength, having extended its string of mission successes during the previous 12 months, and further bolstering its commercial standing in the international launch services marketplace.
The 12 satellites orbited by Arianespace's with its six Ariane 5 dual-payload missions last year represent a 60 percent share of all geostationary communications satellites successfully launched worldwide in 2010. The company's reactivity with this heavy-lift launcher was demonstrated by the three Ariane 5 missions achieved during a two-month period, with liftoffs occurring on October 28, November 26 and December 29.
During this same general timeframe, a Soyuz launch was performed from Baikonur Cosmodrome for Arianespace by its Starsem affiliate, orbiting the initial cluster of Globalstar second-generation satellites on October 20.
The 12 new contracts signed by Arianespace in 2010 for geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) payloads represented 63 percent of the total world marketplace, which were complemented by the company's 12 newly-booked payloads to be placed in low- and medium-Earth orbit on Soyuz missions.
This brings Arianespace's overall order backlog to a new record level, consisting of 29 geostationary satellites, six Ariane 5 launches with the ATV, and 18 Soyuz launches - representing a value of 4.3 billion euros, and a launch workload equivalent to three years of activity for Ariane 5 and Soyuz.
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2011: The Arianespace Family Takes Shape
Paris, France (SPX) Jan 05, 2011
After reaffirming its world leadership in 2010, Arianespace is now actively preparing for the maiden launches of Soyuz and Vega from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Since being founded in 1980, Arianespace has signed over 300 launch service and solutions contracts and launched 289 satellites for 78 customers - more than half of all commercial satellites now in service worldwide. ... read more
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