Arianespace and ELV/AVIO announced today the signature of a contract for Arianespace to order 10 Vega and Vega C launchers from the Italian manufacturer.
The signing ceremony was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Paolo Gentiloni, the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, at the Prefecture du Rhône, in Lyon, France, on the occasion of the 34th French-Italian summit.
Today’s contract was signed by Giulio Ranzo, CEO of AVIO, signatory on behalf of ELV; and Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace’s Executive Vice President, Missions, Operations and Purchasing.
These 10 additional Vega and Vega C launchers will enter service starting in 2019, from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).
Following the successes of the 10 Vega missions to date, with 10 more launches already in the Arianespace order book, today’s contract confirms the long-term viability of the Vega light launcher, now established as the leading launch vehicle in its class. Vega is especially well suited to the launch of scientific or Earth observation satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbits. It is fully available for European government and institutional missions, and offers equally high performance for other customers.
The higher-performance Vega C version will offer increased payload weight and volume, enabling it to carry out an even broader range of missions, from nano-satellites to larger optical and radar observation satellites – making it even more competitive.
Three of the first Vega C launchers have already been assigned to missions:
-- Two to orbit satellites in the Airbus Earth observation constellation, with contracts signed in June during the 2017 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
-- One to launch a second-generation COSMO-SkyMed satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of the Italian ASI space agency and the Italian Ministry of Defense.
Vega is part of the Arianespace launcher family, alongside the Ariane 5 heavy launcher and the Soyuz medium launcher, operated from the Guiana Space Center. The Vega launch system was developed through an ESA program financed by Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.
ELV, a public-private joint venture owned by Avio (70%) and the Italian space agency (30%) based in Colleferro Italy, is the industrial prime contractor for Vega. The company is now responsible for all launcher preparations up to liftoff. Vega C will be operated under the same arrangements for its planned service entry in 2019.
Arianespace retains full responsibilities for customer relations, as well as for the final countdown operations and the launch decision.
During the signing ceremony, Avio’s Giulio Ranzo, the signatory on behalf of ELV, said: “The agreement we signed today, just over a month since the tenth successful launch of Vega, underlines, on one hand, the fruitful relationship with Arianespace and, on the other, the great reliability of our products as acknowledged by Arianespace’s international customers”
Arianespace’s Luce Fabreguettes added: “With these 10 additional launchers, Arianespace proudly teams up with its partners to ensure the sustained operation of Vega, along with the service entry of Vega C as from 2019 at the Guiana Space Center. This latest contract confirms the favored relationship built up by Arianespace and ELV/Avio, industrial prime contractor for Vega, for the success of our light launcher, which has rapidly established itself as the standard in its class.
“With 10 Vega and Vega C launches in its order book, Arianespace addresses the growing demand from both government and commercial customers for small satellite launch services, in particular for scientific and Earth observation missions.”
Arianespace has orbited more than 550 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.