Arianespace Boss: We’re No. 1 and We’re Staying on Top

Stéphane Israël speaks to reporters during the Paris Air Show press conference. (Credit: Arianespace)
Stéphane Israël speaks to reporters during the Paris Air Show press conference. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace’s new chairman and CEO today detailed his perspectives for the company’s future – continuing the focus on operational excellence with the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launcher family, while also ensuring maximum of flexibility and agility in responding to changes and trends in the space lift marketplace.


Speaking to reporters at the Paris Air Show, Stéphane Israël said Arianespace has earned its position as the world’s no. 1 launch services provider, and he will ensure the company maintains the tools and resources necessary to retain this leadership.


In this framework, Israël detailed two developments that he currently is seeking: an enhancement of Ariane 5’s payload fairing to accommodate the increasing size of satellites orbited on the heavy-lift launcher’s trademark dual-passenger missions; and a reduction of time necessary between the missions of Arianespace’s different launcher family types at the Spaceport in French Guiana.


“In my two months at Arianespace, I have been impressed by the company’s operational capacity and the capabilities of its commercial network,” he told reporters.  “I am determined to maintain our no. 1 ranking by being flexible and adaptable in meeting an evolving market.”


Increasing the Ariane 5 payload fairing’s volume will provide Arianespace with a “quick win” to meet a continued growth in the size of telecommunications satellites, Israël explained.  With a relatively modest cost of some 30 million euros, this enhanced fairing could be available by 2015, he added.


“If approved, the evolved fairing would enable Arianespace to offer an Ariane 5+ version – sending a clear message that we are able to adapt quickly to market changes, maintaining maximum agility in our offer to customers,” Israël explained.


Such a step would ensure an interim update for Ariane 5 as Europe prepares for a longer-term effort for the follow-on Ariane 5 ME (Mid-life Evolution) version, along with the successor Ariane 6, he stated.


The second development sought by Israël is the reduction of time necessary between Spaceport launches of the different launcher types in Arianespace’s vehicle family.  While it currently takes approximately three weeks to reconfigure the Spaceport’s infrastructure after a liftoff, the Arianespace chairman and CEO is seeking a reduction to two weeks.


“With our Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launchers now fully operational, compressing the amount of time required from one flight to the next will contribute to Arianespace’s operational responsiveness and reactivity – enabling us to meet the mission scheduling and timing required by our customers,” he explained.


In providing an overview of commercial activity during the first six months of 2013, Israël said Arianespace has booked eight new telecommunications satellite payloads for launches to geostationary transfer orbit – which is a new record for this timeframe.


The new business involves an Intelsat S.A. order for three EpicNG–class satellites that provide broadband infrastructure in a variety of applications; a contract with Australian operator NBN (National Broadband Network) for its first two spacecraft, which are dedicated to broadband Internet services; two satellites for Eutelsat as part of a multiple launch services agreement; along with a non-disclosed customer payload.


Additionally, Arianespace today announced a launch contract with Telespazio to orbit the Göktürk-1 high-resolution observation satellite for the Turkish government.  Göktürk-1 will be lofted by Vega, and placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit.


With this new business so far in 2013, Arianespace has further consolidated its market position – providing an order book backlog equivalent to more than three years of launch activity.

To maintain Arianespace’s mission cadence, Israël confirmed the company is in discussions with its industry suppliers for the next production batches of the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch vehicles.