Arianespace plans 12 launcher family missions in 2013

Applying the full benefits of its launcher family, Arianespace is targeting a total of 12 missions with Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega in 2013, thus maintaining its launch services leadership.

This was the main message of Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall during the company’s traditional New Year’s kickoff press conference, held in Paris today, who underscored both the operational and economic advantages of having its launch vehicle trio in service at the Spaceport.

“As the prime contractor for launch operations in French Guiana, Arianespace has multi-disciplinary teams that can manage missions with all three types of launchers, which creates synergies and reduces operational costs,” he told international reporters.

The company’s 2013 scheduling calls for 11 missions from the Spaceport – six heavy-lift Ariane 5 launches, four medium-lift Soyuz flights and one with the light-lift Vega – along with a Soyuz liftoff at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, operated under the responsibility of Arianespace’s Euro-Russian Starsem subsidiary.

Arianespace’s 2013 launch activity begins next month with a Starsem Soyuz mission at Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying six Globalstar second-generation constellation satellites on February 4.

The Spaceport’s year-opening flight is planned on February 7, using an Ariane 5 to loft the Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a telecommunications satellites.

The four Soyuz missions from French Guiana this year will carry a variety of passengers that highlight the Russian launcher’s flexibility in Spaceport operations, including two missions with four satellites each for O3b Networks, and two flights with a pair of Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites each.

Also scheduled at the Spaceport are Soyuz launches with Europe’s star-mapping Gaia satellite, and a Sentinel spacecraft for the European Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program.

The 10 contracts signed for commercial satellite payloads to be delivered to GTO (geostationary transfer orbit) represented a 60 percent share of this market worldwide in 2012, and were in addition to a new order inked for a dedicated medium Earth orbit mission with Galileo satellites.

The resulting strong payload backlog continues to provide Arianespace with the launch activity equivalent of three years, representing a total order backlog of 4 billion euros.

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