12 missions set for Arianespace in 2013

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 09-01-2013

With the aim of further strengthening its world leadership in the launch services market, Euro consortium Arianespace is aiming for a total of 12 missions with Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega in 2013.
Arianespace's launch activity in 2013 is the equivalent of three years of business, representing a total order backlog of €4 billion.
The company's 2013 scheduling calls for 11 missions from the Spaceport – six heavy-lift Ariane 5 launches, four medium-lift Soyuz flights and one with the light-lift Vega – along with a Soyuz lift-off at Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome. This last mission will be operated under the responsibility of Arianespace's Euro-Russian Starsem subsidiary.
Arianespace's 2013 launch schedule begins on 4 February with a Starsem Soyuz mission at Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying six Globalstar second-generation constellation satellites. The Spaceport's year-opening flight is planned on 7 February using an Ariane 5 to lift the Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a telecommunications satellites.
At the company's traditional year-opening press conference in Paris on Tuesday, chairman & CEO Jean Yves Le Gall underscored both the operational and economic advantages of having its launch vehicle trio in service at the Spaceport. "Ariane 5 continues as the workhorse launcher, Soyuz has been working like clockwork since its introduction at French Guiana in October 2011, while Vega scored an on-target maiden flight during 2012," he said.
Le Gall noted 2012 was an exceptional year for operational performance, with ten flights from the Spaceport with Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, plus a Starsem Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Last year, the ten contracts signed for commercial satellite payloads to be delivered to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) represented a 60% share of this market worldwide. The launches generated sales exceeding €1.3 billion for income at the break-even point, up 30% over 2011.
Created in 1980 and backed by 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace employs some 10,000 people in Europe and French Guiana