14 December 2013 – Astrium, the world’s second largest space company, and Arianespace, the world’s leading satellite launch company, have signed a contract worth more than €2 billion for the supply of 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers. These latest Ariane 5 launchers, which follow an order for 35 launchers in 2009 (PB batch), will be launched from 2017 onwards.
The cost-performance ratio of these new Ariane 5 ECAs will significantly improve due to ongoing Astrium-led technical and process improvements across the entire industrial chain. The additional 18 launchers ensure an added three-year workload for Astrium, as well as delivery of Ariane 5 until the end of 2019.
The contract was signed by Astrium CEO Francois Auque and Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, in the presence of French President François Hollande, and French Minister of Higher Education & Research Geneviève Fioraso. Among those attending this ceremony were also Jean-Jacques Dordain, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jean-Yves le Gall, the CEO and Chairman of the French Space Agency (CNES) and Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of Safran.
“I would like to thank Arianespace for this major new order, which shows that the industrial network set up by Astrium is capable of producing the most reliable launcher in the world as well as ensuring the global leadership of Arianespace. This contract reaffirms Astrium’s role as prime contractor of Ariane 5 since 2003 and reinforces its robust order book,” said Astrium CEO François Auque. “The presence of the French President here in Kourou today shows the importance of the space sector to the European economy and industry, as well as France’s commitment to guarantying European independent access to space for the past 40 years.”
The order takes to 38 the number of Ariane 5 launchers in production or awaiting manufacture for Arianespace, and will guarantee the continued provision of launch services for the European operator’s customers at the Guiana Space Centre through to the end of the decade.
For his part, Stéphane Israël said: “I would first like to thank the French President, whose presence here today at the Guiana Space Centre shows how important France considers its space programme, and also reflects how both public authorities and our partners identify with the values that characterise Arianespace, namely reliability, availability and quality. I would also like to thank Astrium of course, and the European launcher industry, for delivering Ariane 5, an exceptional launch vehicle that has driven Arianespace’s operational and business success. Coming at the end of a record year of launch orders, this contract guarantees the longevity of the Ariane launch system, while also improving its competitiveness. In other words, it’s a strong sign of confidence in our future, allowing us to give customers the services that best match their needs.”
The contract follows on from the framework agreement signed with Arianespace on 17 September 2013, which has enabled Astrium and its industrial partners to begin work on manufacturing the additional launchers.
Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company and number two worldwide, is the sole prime contractor of Ariane 5 and provides Arianespace with complete launchers that are tested and integrated at the Guiana Space Centre. Astrium also manages all the contracts of the manufacturers in the Ariane programme’s 12 partner countries.
Arianespace is the world leader in its sector and has more than three years of work, worth €4 billion, on its order book.