Japan Week 2018: Arianespace is the Japanese market leader


Arianespace, the leader in the Japanese market

As the annual Japan Week event opened, Arianespace announced a new contract with SSL (a Maxar Technologies company) for an Ariane 5 mission in 2020 to orbit the BSAT-4b satellite for Japanese operator B-SAT (Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation).

With this new contract, the 32nd signed in 32 years, 75 percent of Japanese geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) launches open to competition have been entrusted to Arianespace.

This contract follows two recent successful launches for Japan:

  • September 29, 2017: BSAT-4a for operator B-SAT.

  • April 5, 2018: DSN-1/Superbird-8 for the Japanese Ministry of Defense and the operator SKY Perfect JSAT.

Just three years after opening its office in Tokyo, Arianespace orbited JCSAT-1 in 1989. The company has since launched a total of 30 geostationary satellites for Japanese operators SKY Perfect JSAT (19 satellites launched), B-SAT (9 satellites launched) and NHK (2 satellites launched).

In addition to the 32 contracts, Arianespace was selected to launch two commercial satellites acquired jointly by Japanese and international operators: Horizons-2 (launched by an Ariane 5 in December 2007) and Horizons 3e (in the order book for a future mission), with these two satellites belonging to the Horizons joint venture owned by Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT.

In addition, Arianespace has orbited five satellites built by the Japanese manufacturers Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and NEC (NEC Space Technologies, formerly NEC TOSHIBA Space Systems).

The next Arianespace missions for Japanese operators will be: JCSAT-17 and Horizons 3e for SKY Perfect JSAT, and BSAT-4b for B-SAT.

BepiColombo, the ESA mission in partnership with JAXA to explore the planet Mercury, will be launched by Arianespace in October 2018.

Arianespace has clearly confirmed its status as the Japanese market leader and favored partner, recognized for its reliable and available launch services.

Three launch vehicles to better serve our customers

Arianespace conducted 11 successful launches in 2017 from the Guiana Space Center (six by Ariane 5, two by Soyuz and three by Vega), orbiting a total of 20 satellites for commercial and institutional customers from around the world. With 12 satellites sent into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), representing a total mass of 54 metric tons, Arianespace once again confirmed its leadership in the GTO launch market. Ariane 5 also set a new performance record, injecting 9.969 metric tons into GTO on a mission performed in June 2017.

In 2018, three launches have been completed from the Guiana Space Center: on January 25 with a heavy-lift Ariane 5; on March 9 with a medium-lift Soyuz rocket; and on April 5 with another Ariane 5. The next mission is planned for May 25, using an Ariane 5.

Arianespace’s order book stands at 4.7 billion euros, including 56 launches for 29 customers (70 percent commercial and 30 percent institutional, in terms of the number of launches), with 17 by Ariane 5, 28 by Soyuz, nine by Vega/Vega C and two by Ariane 6.

Arianespace steps up the pace with Vega C and Ariane 6

The development of Arianespace’s future launchers is proceeding according to the planned steps, with first launches planned as soon as 2019 for Vega C and 2020 for Ariane 6.

Perfectly suited to the market opportunities offered by planned satellite constellations designed to offer global connectivity or Earth observation services, Vega C and Ariane 6 won their first launch services contracts in 2017:

  • Three Vega C contracts, including two to orbit satellites in the Airbus Earth observation constellation, and one to launch the COSMO-SkyMed second-generation satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for the Italian space agency ASI and the Italian Ministry of Defense.

  • Two contracts for the Ariane 62 version awarded to Arianespace by the European Space Agency, on behalf of the European Commission, to launch four additional OHB-built satellites in the Galileo navigation system.

This trend should accelerate in 2018, particularly with the expected first commercial launch contracts for Ariane 6.

During his visit to Japan, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “Following the successful launches of two satellites for BSAT, then for the Japanese Ministry of Defense and SKY Perfect JSAT in the last seven months, as well as the signature today of our 32nd contract in this country in 32 years, Arianespace is proud to carry on its exceptional partnership with Japan.

“We are honored by the ongoing confidence of major Japanese operators, for whom we have already orbited three-fourths of their geostationary satellites that were open to competition for launch. Our backlog includes three Japanese geostationary commercial satellites, along with the iconic BepiColombo mission led by ESA in partnership with JAXA, which will be launched this fall on an Ariane 5. Building on these shared successes and our new-generation Ariane 6 and Vega C launchers, Arianespace will continue to contribute to the development of Japanese space ambitions.”

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