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Arianespace Looks Back on Successful 2006

Founded in 1980, Arianespace was the world's first launch services company. In 2006, Arianespace confirmed its position as the world's leading supplier of launch services & solutions.


Arianespace in 2006: Five Ariane 5 launches, two Soyuz launches, 13 payloads in orbit

In 2006, Arianespace successfully launched five Ariane 5 ECAs, placing ten communications satellites and one technology experiment into geostationary transfer orbit.

With 30 successful launches, including 16 in a row, Europe's Ariane 5 launcher has amply proven its technical maturity. Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher now on the market capable of launching two payloads at once, thereby delivering greater performance, flexibility and competitiveness to all customers.

On October 13, Starsem carried out a successful launch from Baikonur, using a Soyuz 2-1a to loft the first operational weather satellite in polar orbit, Metop-A, for the intergovernmental organization Eumetsat. On December 27, Arianespace and Starsem used a Soyuz 2-1b to successfully launch the Corot stellar observation satellite, also from Baikonur, for French space agency CNES.

Continued leadership

Arianespace once again confirmed its global leadership in launch Service & Solutions in 2006, as it signed 12 new satellite launch contracts: Arabsat (two contracts), GMS (two contracts), COMS-1, Helios 2B, Superbird 7, TerreStar I, Turksat 1R, Vinasat 1, W2M and one confidential payload.

Since being founded, Arianespace has signed 280 launch contracts with 65 international operators. Starsem has signed 22 contracts. Nearly two-thirds of the satellites in orbit today were launched by Arianespace.

Arianespace has a backlog of 38 satellites to be launched, while Starsem has five - far and away the largest order book in the industry.

Sales in line with forecasts

Arianespace will post sales of approximately 985 million euros in 2006, with income once again at the break-even point. Starsem had sales of about 70 million euros, and income was also at the break-even point.

Arianespace in 2007: Six Ariane 5 launches and three for Soyuz

Six Ariane 5 launches are planned in 2007. The first this year will boost two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit: the U.K.'s military communications satellite Skynet 5A and India's Insat 4B communications satellite.

Starsem is planning three Soyuz launches from Baikonur, with the first to launch four satellites in the Globalstar constellation.

Soyuz and Vega at the Guiana Space Center

The new versions of the Soyuz launcher, Soyuz 2-1a and Soyuz 2-1b, are an integral part of plans to launch Soyuz from the Guiana Space Center. Construction of the Soyuz launch complex is proceeding on schedule, with the first Russian-built infrastructure components to arrive in French Guiana in 2007.

The ELA-1 launch pad is now being revamped for the new light launcher Vega. The first firing test of Vega's P-80 first stage was performed on November 30 in Kourou and was a complete success.

Both Soyuz and Vega are scheduled to make their maiden flights from the Guiana Space Center in 2008.

At the leading edge of innovation

In 2007, Arianespace is once again ready to meet tomorrow's challenges: upholding its responsibilities to customers as the world's leading launch Service & Solutions company; ATV missions to the International Space Station, arrival of the Soyuz and Vega launchers at the Guiana Space Center, and participation in future exploration programs.

Building on its competitive assets, Arianespace will rise to these challenges for the benefit of its customers, shareholders and member-states of the European Space Agency.

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Arianespace, Service & Solutions: the Global Benchmark in Space Transportation