12 September 2014 – For the 61st consecutive time, Ariane 5 has successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, once again confirming the reliability of the European launcher developed and built by prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company. For this launch, the company was also the prime contractor for MEASAT-3b, the largest satellite ever built for Malaysian-based Asian operator MEASAT.
“The 61st successful launch in a row marks our third success as double prime this year,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “It demonstrates again the extreme reliability of our industrial organisation both as a satellite manufacturer with us having manufactured 100 telecommunications satellites to date, of which 40 are based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, and as the prime contractor for Ariane 5 and future European launchers. We would like to thank Arianespace, which markets the launches and operates the range of European launcher systems at the Guyanese Space Centre, as well as our industrial and institutional partners.”
The Ariane flight number 218 sees 10,088 kg being transported into geostationary transfer orbit, 9,167 kg of which is made up by the two satellites MEASAT-3b and OPTUS-10 and the rest by Sylda, Airbus Defence and Space’s dual launch system, and by adapter structures for the satellites.
As the prime contractor for the Ariane launchers, Airbus Defence and Space has been coordinating the industrial chain for the Ariane 5programme since 2003, bringing together more than 550 companies (more than 20% of which are SMEs) in 12 European countries. The company likewise manages the entire industrial logistics chain, all equipment production and the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana, in accordance with the customer’s specifications. Thanks to the expertise the company has developed and the investments it has made over a period of almost 10 years, Ariane 5 is now the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market, having increased its cargo capacity by almost one tonne in geostationary orbit. At the cutting edge of European know-how, the Ariane 5 launcher has been specially designed to transport heavy payloads into space.