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Mitsubishi Heavy and Arianespace conclude MOU on commercial launches
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (SPX) Jun 11, 2013

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Arianespace have concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pertaining primarily to implementation of joint proposals relating to commercial space rocket launches.

An exchange of the MOU documents took place at the Japanese Prime Minister's official residence in the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande, who is currently in Japan on an state visit. The exchange ceremony was attended by MHI Chairman Hideaki Omiya and Jacques Breton, Arianespace's Senior Vice President in charge of Sales and Customers.

With the new MOU, MHI and Arianespace agreed to collectively probe the creation of innovative new launch services and standardization of satellite preparation tasks at launch sites as a follow-up to their cooperative achievements to date. The aims behind the latest initiative are further development of the commercial launch market and sustained enhancement of the two companies' related services.

Cooperation between Japan's space industry and Arianespace traces back to the early 1990s, when the two sides exchanged views in a quest to standardize rocket and payload interfaces. Out of those exchanges evolved a new cooperative relationship between MHI and Arianespace that led to the two companies' formation of a "Launch Services Alliance." The new MOU is designed to take their mutual partnership one step further.

MHI Chairman Hideaki Omiya spoke of the new MOU in the following terms. "MHI is very proud to conclude this memorandum with Arianespace, a company that boasts a greater than 50% share of the global commercial launch market," he said.

"We are confident that by cooperating with Arianespace we will be able to provide customers with more attractive services of higher value. Relations between France and MHI span many different areas, and with this latest development we look forward to the further strengthening or our ties."

Returning from the Guiana Space Center after the successful launch of the ATV4 mission to the International Space Station, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel expressed his satisfaction with the formal signature of this partnership, less than a month after his trip to Japan. He warmly thanked the French President and Japanese Prime Minister for helping to spotlight this collaboration between Arianespace and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Arianespace's Jacques Breton, the company's Senior Vice President in charge of Sales and Customers, offered these remarks on the occasion: "Arianespace is especially proud of this agreement concluded with the giant of the Japanese space industry," he commented.

"This cooperative arrangement should enable both MHI and us to propose services to our clients that are more flexible and better suited to their needs. Japan has been a major partner for Arianespace for 30 years, and will continue to be so for many more years to come."


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