Arianespace forecasts record year in 2014, but needs to adapt

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 08-01-2014

Arianespace, which already claimed "unprecedented orders" in 2013, believes it will beat its record for the number of launches during 2014, but will continue to adapt its launcher family to meet customer needs and bolster its competitiveness.

Last year, the company signed 18 launch contracts, worth €1.4 billion, and now boasts a record backlog of orders, worth a total of €4.3 billion and equal to more than three years of launches.

To deal with the backlog, "Arianespace aims to beat the record for launches in a year - ten in 2012. Operations will kick off in February, using Ariane 5 ECA for two geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) missions: VA217, with ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus; then VA216, with Astra 5B and Amazonas 4A," the consortium says.

Discussions about Soyuz are continuing with partners in the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and should be concluded by mid-2014.

Arianespace has a total of 62 launchers (38 Ariane 5, 14 Vega and 10 Soyuz) under order.

"With its family of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launchers, Arianespace confirmed its ability in 2013 to handle a complete range of missions, from commercial launches into geostationary orbit to launches of scientific spacecraft into special orbits," says the group, which carried out eight launches in 2013.

In the same year Arianespace also kicked off various operational projects designed to adapt its launchers to market requirements, and support greater operational flexibility in the coming years.

In line with its assigned mission of ensuring independent access to space for Europe, the company plans a number of launches in 2014 for European governments and agencies.

Arianespace 2013 revenues are expected in decrease and several Ariane 5 launches were rescheduled last year. In 2012, Arianespace had a turnover of €1.3 billion, with a net profit of €1.7 million.