Following a very busy 2016 with 11 successful launches, new operational records, and 13 new launch contracts distributed across its entire family of launchers, Arianespace reaffirmed its leadership in the commercial launch services market.
Arianespace is tackling the future with confidence and is more committed than ever to serving its customers, based on a new governance structure, confirmation of the upcoming Ariane 6 and Vega C launcher programs, and the unrivaled reliability and availability of its range of launch vehicles.
During the year Arianespace carried out 11 successful launches from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana for both government/institutional and commercial customers from around the world, including Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Arianespace also set a number of operational records during the year.
On December 21, Ariane 5 chalked up its 76th successful launch in a row since 2003, further surpassing the record set by Ariane 4 (74 successful launches in a row).
The Vega light launcher has now performed eight launches since its introduction at CSG in 2012, all successful.
Soyuz carried out two more successful launches from CSG during the year, bringing the total to 15 since this medium launcher started operations in French Guiana in 2011.
Arianespace set new payload performance records twice during the year, each time carrying over 10,700 kg. into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO); this represents an increase of more than 1,400 kg. in payload lift capacity since the start of the Ariane 5 ECA program.
Arianespace orbited 27 payloads during the year from the CSG with a total cumulated mass of 61.4 metric tons, setting a new record versus the 25 satellites launched in 2012.
Flexibility and availability:
Arianespace has adapted its service capabilities to launch a full range of payloads (from 3 kg. to 6.5 metric tons) into all orbits.
Arianespace reorganized its launch schedule at the beginning of 2016, clearly showing its flexibility and customer responsiveness by carrying out two dedicated single-payload Ariane 5 launches, and also adding an additional Soyuz mission for the Galileo global navigation satellite system at the service of the European Commission and the European Space Agency. The deployment of Galileo also was accelerated with the successful launch of the first Ariane 5 ES version carrying four satellites for this constellation.
The teams at Arianespace stepped up to the challenge of carrying out six launches during the final four months of the year, ensuring that the company upheld its commitments to customers.
2016 facts and figures
27 satellites orbited:
61.4 metric tons injected into orbit
76 successful launches in a row for Ariane 5
Two record-setting GTO launches by Ariane 5 ECA, with payloads exceeding 10.7 metric tons.
13 new launch contracts signed since January 2016
Arianespace today announced two new Ariane 5 launch contracts for telecommunications satellites: JCSAT-17, which will be the 20th SKY Perfect JSAT satellite entrusted to Arianespace, with a launch planned in 2019; and Intelsat 39, which is scheduled for a 2018 launch on behalf of Intelsat.
Arianespace has logged a dynamic business performance since January 2016 despite a slowdown in the telecom satellite market and increasingly aggressive price competition.
The company booked orders worth a combined total on the order of 1.1 billion euros during this period. Ariane 5 launcher maintains its leadership in the geostationary (GEO) satellite market, winning contracts for seven commercial GEO satellites, giving it over 50% of this market. Vega confirmed its attractiveness in the Earth observation market by winning two new launch contracts, while Soyuz also won two new contracts.
Arianespace’s order book now stands at 5.2 billion euros, representing 55 launches for 32 customers. This success confirms the validity of Arianespace’s launch services offering, designed to provide the best balance between reliability, availability and price, while also continuously adapting to changes in the market. These changes include the growing role taken by hybrid or all-electric satellites, and the ramp-up of constellation projects dedicated to Internet access or Earth observation.
13 contracts signed in 2016:
Nine Ariane 5 contracts: DGA (French defense procurement agency): COMSAT NG 1 and COMSAT NG 2; VIASAT: ViaSat-2; ISRO: GSAT 11; INMARSAT/HELLAS-SAT: Inmarsat S-band/Hellas-Sat 3; SKY Perfect JSAT: JCSAT-17; INTELSAT: Intelsat 39; and two for undisclosed customers.
Two Vega contracts: CERES for the DGA and CNES; ADM Aeolus for ESA.
Two new contracts for Soyuz (undisclosed customers).
55 launches in the order book…
20 with Ariane 5
27 with Soyuz
8 with Vega.
…for a range of applications: 70% telecommunications, 23% Earth observation, 7% navigation and science.
Poised for further success
Arianespace expects to maintain a sustained launch pace in 2017:
Up to seven with Ariane 5:
Six Ariane 5 ECA launchers carrying satellites into GTO for global or regional operators.
One Ariane 5 ES, which will orbit four more Galileo satellites for the European Commission and ESA in the second half of the year.
Three with Vega, which will inject four Earth observation satellites into Sun-synchronous orbit:
Two single launches: Sentinel-2B, for the Copernicus program led by the European Commission and ESA; and ADM Aeolus (Atmospheric Dynamics Mission) for ESA.
One dual launch: OPTSAT 3000 (on behalf of CGS and Telespazio for the Italian defense ministry)/VENµS (for the Israeli space agency and CNES).
Two by Soyuz, which will carry out its first missions from CSG into geostationary transfer orbit, for the Hispasat HAG-1/H36G and SES-15 satellites.
Arianespace and Starsem are also actively gearing up for the deployment of the OneWeb constellation, with an initial launch planned as early as the first half of 2018.
Arianespace: a pivotal role in the new governance structure for the European launcher industry
This past year was key to the future of European launchers, based on several decisive developments:
Confirmation of the Vega C and Ariane 6 programs, with their inaugural flights expected in 2019 and 2020, respectively, enables Arianespace to better meet the expectations of its institutional and commercial customers. As a result, Arianespace already is engaged in the preparation of the first offers for these two launchers.
Arianespace’s new governance structure is now in place: after the transfer of Arianespace shares held by French space agency CNES, Airbus Safran Launchers is now the majority shareholder in Arianespace, with a 74% stake. The balance of shares, held by companies in the European launcher industry, remains unchanged. The change in Arianespace’s shareholding structure will enhance the company’s responsiveness and agility to deal with a fast-changing market, for the greater benefit of its customers. Arianespace also seeks greater synergies, with Airbus Safran Launchers for Ariane operations, and with AVIO-ELV for Vega. Within the scope of this new governance structure, Arianespace will continue to be a full-fledged company, taking a neutral stance in relation to all satellite manufacturers, and acting as the single point-of-contact for its customers every step of the way during their contractual and operational relationship. Arianespace thus consolidates the key success factors that have guided its development for more than 35 years.
During an international press conference held in Paris, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “With 11 successful launches in 2016 – marked by new performance, reliability and availability records set by our three launch vehicles: Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega – we met all commitments to our customers. Our order book now stands at 5.2 billion euros, including slightly more than one billion euros in new orders, and we have annual revenues of approximately 1.4 billion euros, clearly reaffirming our leadership in the commercial launch services market and our commitment to making life better on Earth.
“Benefitting from a new governance and the confirmation of the future Vega C and Ariane 6 launchers, Arianespace is now fully prepared to guarantee independent access to space for Europe, and to continue our leadership in the commercial launch services market for the next decade.