Arianespace, the world's leading launch services company, and Astrium, the world's second leading space technology company, have signed a contract for 18 additional Ariane 5 ECA launchers, worth more than 2 billion euros. These 18 new Ariane 5 rockets will be launched starting in 2017, following the 35 launchers that were already ordered in 2009, in the PB batch.
The contract was signed on Saturday, December 14, 2013 by Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, and François Auque, CEO of Astrium, at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The signing ceremony was witnessed by French President François Hollande and Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of Higher Education and Research, along with Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of French space agency CNES and Jean-Paul Herteman, President of Safran.
This latest order brings the number of Ariane 5 launchers under construction or on order to 38. It ensures that Arianespace's customers will enjoy continued launch services from the Guiana Space Center until the end of the decade.
The contract announced today follows the framework contract signed by Arianespace on September 17, 2013, which already enabled Astrium and its partners to start procurement of long-lead items, and begin production of the new launchers.
Commenting on this latest contract, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: "I would first like to thank the French President, whose presence here today at the Guiana Space Center shows how important France considers its space program, and also reflects how both public authorities and our partners identify with the values that characterize Arianespace, namely reliability, availability and quality. I would also like to thank Astrium of course, and the European launcher industry, for delivering Ariane 5, an exceptional launch vehicle that has driven Arianespace's operational and business success. Coming at the end of a record year of launch orders, this contract guarantees the longevity of the Ariane launch system, while also improving its competitiveness. In other words, it's a strong sign of confidence in our future, allowing us to give customers the services that best match their needs."
“I would like to thank Arianespace for this major new order, which shows that the industrial network set up by Astrium is capable of producing the most reliable launcher in the world as well as ensuring the global leadership of Arianespace. This contract reaffirms Astrium’s role as prime contractor of Ariane 5 since 2003 and reinforces its robust order book,” said Astrium CEO François Auque. “The presence of the French President here in Kourou today shows the importance of the space sector to the European economy and industry, as well as France’s commitment to guarantying European independent access to space for the past 40 years.”