After a remarkable year in the Asia-Pacific in 2018, Arianespace tackles the future with Ariane 6 an
Arianespace confirms its benchmark status in the Asia-Pacific region Asia-Pacific is a key market for Arianespace. Since 1981, Arianespace has launched 90 satellites for 20 customers from 10 countries in the region, which is more than half of all commercial satellites orbited to date for the Asia-Pacific zone.
From January 2018 to February 2019, Arianespace orbited four satellites for Asia-Pacific customers based in: South Korea (GEO-KOMPSAT-2A on December 4, 2018); India (GSAT-11 on December 4, 2018 and GSAT-31 on February 5, 2019); and Japan (DSN-1/Superbird 8 on April 5, 2018) – all with Ariane 5.
Overall, Arianespace carried out 11 launches during 2018 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, orbiting 21 satellites. From early February to early April, 2019, it performed four missions, all successful, using Ariane 5 (on February 5), Soyuz (on March 19 and April 4) and Vega (on March 22). The next launch is planned for June 20, 2019, using an Ariane 5 to orbit the T-16 and EUTELSAT 7C satellites.
Strong business performance driven by the entire launcher family Arianespace enjoyed remarkable business success in 2018, winning 18 launch contracts from 15 different customers. The company reaffirmed its leadership in the geostationary communications satellite segment, since eight of these satellites will be headed to geostationary orbit (five for Eutelsat, two for ISRO, and one for B-SAT, using both Ariane 5 and Ariane 6). Vega, Vega C and Soyuz also won new customers for low- and medium-Earth orbit satellites.
This positive trend is continuing as Arianespace already had signed seven contracts since the beginning of the year, with:
- OneWeb for more than 30 satellites to be orbited on the first flight of Ariane 62 in 2020;
- The Japanese startup Synspective to orbit a demonstration satellite StriX-α for their constellation on a Vega rocket in 2020;
- Open Cosmos and Tyvak to launch two auxiliary payloads on a Soyuz mission in 2019;
- ESA (on behalf of CDTI) for a Vega launch of the SEOSat/Ingenio satellite during the first half of 2020;
- exactEarth for the ESAIL microsatellite as part of a demonstration flight for the Vega SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service), scheduled for liftoff in September 2019;
- ESA, which chose Arianespace for its JUICE (Jupiter Icy moon Explorer) mission, to be launched as from 2022 aboard an Ariane 5 or an Ariane 64.
Arianespace’s order book now includes seven satellites to be launched for Asia-Pacific operators:
- Four satellites to be launched by Ariane 5 into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO):GEO-KOMPSAT-2B for the South Korean aerospace agency KARI; JCSAT-17 for SKY Perfect JSAT; BSAT-4b for B-SAT; and GSAT-30 for the Indian space agency, ISRO.
- Three satellites to be launched by Vega/Vega C: KOMPSAT-7 for KARI; THEOS-2 for GISTDA; and StriX-α for Synspective.
Arianespace’s backlog of orders now stands at 54 launches for 38 customers:
- 20 by Ariane 5/Ariane 6
- 24 by Soyuz
- 10 by Vega/Vega C.
Ariane 6 and Vega C: gearing up for first flights in 2020
The new generation of European launch vehicles is designed to address changes in the satellite market. Ariane 6 and Vega C will enable Arianespace to cover all orbits for all sizes of satellites, including constellations and smallsats, thanks to special multiple launch systems (SSMS for Vega/Vega C, and MLS for Ariane 6). The first flights of these two new launchers will take place as early as 2020, kicking off a transition period between Ariane 5/Ariane 6 and Vega/Vega C, which will last from 2021 to 2023.
Ariane 6 and Vega C combine a long heritage of reliability and enhanced competitiveness, enabling them to win over both institutional and commercial customers. In May 2019, Arianespace and ArianeGroup announced an order for the first 14 Ariane 6 launchers to be used in the 2021-2023 timeframe, marking a decisive step forward in the operation of this new launch vehicle for the greater benefit of Arianespace’s customers.