After an especially successful year in 2012, Arianespace is gearing up for the New Year with the constant aim of further strengthening its world leadership in the launch services market.
Ten years of uninterrupted success
With 53 successful launches in a row, Ariane 5 closed out 2012 on a high note, marking ten years of uninterrupted success. This is an extraordinary level of reliability, largely unrivaled in the launch industry.
The launcher logged perfect countdowns throughout the year, ensuring on-time launches and clearly reflecting the skills and commitment of the people who produce and operate Ariane 5.
Arianespace's family of three launch vehicles performed ten launches in a year from the Guiana Space Center for the first time in 2012: seven by Ariane 5, two by Soyuz and one by Vega. Arianespace set another record as well, sending nearly 75 metric tons into orbit.
This remarkable technical, industrial and commercial success is the result of a strong political commitment that has allowed Europe, at the initiative of France, to deploy a truly world-class space industry.
Since being founded in 1980, the contracts won by Arianespace, especially in export markets, have generated some 15 billion euros for the European space industry. The ten launches carried out by Arianespace last year, for example, generated sales exceeding 1.3 billion euros, a 30% rise over 2011, for income at the break-even point.
Arianespace's order intake in 2012 was once again remarkable, giving it a market share of 60% and a total order backlog of 4 billion euros, equal to three years of business. The order book now includes 18 Ariane 5 launches, 12 for Soyuz and three for Vega, giving Arianespace the largest backlog in the industry. Furthermore, these orders are provided by 25 customers from around the world, including the European Space Agency, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, European Commission, Spain, United States, Eumetsat, Eutelsat, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Norway and Qatar.
The overall organization ensures the long-term employment, in France, other European countries and French Guiana, of more than 10,000 engineers and highly qualified technicians.
The space sector is characterized by long lead-times, and decisions only bear fruit years after being made. Today's success is the direct result of decisions made some 25 years ago.
At the ministerial-level meeting of the European Space Agency Council in Naples on November 20 and 21, 2012, Europe's space ministers honored Arianespace's success by approving an ambitious support plan for Ariane 5, which guarantees its long-term operation. They also kicked off the development of Ariane 6, which opens new horizons for the European launch vehicle sector.
In addition to maintaining the indispensable design skills base, this future launch vehicle will also be a formidable engine of technological development and innovation, enabling Europe to maintain its leadership in the global launch services market by addressing changing requirements and increasing competition.
Based on all of these factors, Arianespace can look to the future with confidence. Arianespace clearly has the resources and capabilities needed to maintain its status as the world leader, for the greater benefit of its customers, as well as European governments and industry.