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Astrium Reinforces Reliability of Ariane Program

PARIS --- Faced with an economic context that has become increasingly complex not only for the European Space Agency (ESA) member countries but also for Arianespace, the overall effectiveness of the Ariane programme must be reinforced both for industry and public administrations.

With this important goal in mind, Astrium Space Transportation, prime contractor for the Ariane 5 launcher, brought together its partners on 15 October 2010 to better harmonise work on the Ariane programme. Continuing efforts are a must in this area to prolong the series of 38 consecutive successful Ariane 5 ECA launches. The talks focused on ways of ensuring excellence, product quality and future developments for Ariane.

As prime contractor for development and production work on the launcher, Astrium has final responsibility for overall quality and has stepped up its supervision of the programme. Astrium has conducted an internal audit and also introduced the Ariane Supply Chain Excellence Programme (ASCEP), which was launched over a year ago.

The audit results showed that maintaining competitiveness remained tenuous and needed to be better guaranteed.

During that day, Astrium and its industrial partners talked to ESA about ways to improve the existing management procedures for contracts accompanying production (ARTA programme, maintenance in operational conditions, etc.), as their complexity has slowed down production processes.

Alain Charmeau, CEO of Astrium Space Transportation, underlined the necessity of launching the development phase on the Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (ME) to reinforce the overall effectiveness and the robustness of the industrial chain.

“These are excellent means to facilitate our industrial cooperation, develop skills, anticipate any upcoming production constraints and adopt collective measures that reflect our firm commitment to reducing overall costs,” he stated. “It’s a win-win situation both for the industrial partners and the government agencies.”

The participants were able to discuss the full range of issues thanks to the presence of all the different players who guarantee Europe’s long-term access to space: ESA, the industrial partners and Arianespace, the Astrium subsidiary that is responsible for launch operations and commercial activities.

Astrium is guarantor for the reliability of Ariane, overseeing the quality of its industrial products, the development work and the launch vehicle integration operations in Guiana.


Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of EUR 4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.

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Astrium Reinforces the Excellence and Reliability of the Ariane Programme