who is the leader? It's Arianespace

Year after year (with the exception of 2014), Arianespace reaffirms its leadership in commercial satellite launches. 2018 did not depart from the good habit taken by the European launch services company. Last year, Arianespace made 11 launches (6 Ariane 5, 3 Soyuz and 2 Vega) from the Guiana Space Center. These launches for 13 customers, including five for the benefit of European institutions, made it possible to launch 21 satellites (including 13 commercial satellites) for nearly 57 tonnes of payload, and to achieve a turnover of 1 , 4 billion euros. In particular Ariane 5 made four launches double to the geostationary orbit out of the six completed in 2018.

"We sent eight (geostationary satellites, ed), this is half of the commercial geostationary satellites that were put into orbit last year," said Arianespace CEO St├ęphane Israel. "Last year, there was unquestionably, the reaffirmation of our leadership on the geostationary segment," he said.

A very good business year in 2018

On the commercial front, Arianespace has signed 18 contracts in 2018, including the first commercial contract for Ariane 64 as part of a five-satellite multi-launch agreement with Eutelsat and the first Vega SSMS flight. On the institutional side, CNES and DGA signed a launch for the CSO-3 observation satellite on an Ariane 62. This represents a total of 15 different customers in order to put into orbit 26 new satellites (from nine kg to more six tons). It's the equivalent of two Ariane 5, two Ariane 64, a Ariane 62, three Vega and / or Vega C (including the demonstration flight of the SSMS small launch multiple launch service), as well as two first opportunities for the SSMS 2 flight on Vega and two CNES nanosatellites (ANGELS and EyeSat), which will ship on Soyuz in 2019. In addition, the Taranis satellite, also signed with CNES in 2012, will fly on Vega in 2020.

In the context of a very tight geostationary telecommunications satellite market, Arianespace reaffirmed its leadership in this segment, with the addition of eight additional satellites (five Eutelsat, two ISRO, one B-SAT), bringing the GEO satellites to 28 in its order backlog and clearly outpacing its competitors in terms of market share including SpaceX which focused on institutional missions. Vega also confirms its success in the field of Earth observation, with three additional satellites won. The commercialization of the Small Satellite Multiple Launch Service (SSMS) demonstration flight resulted in the signing of commercial agreements with seven customers for launch in 2019.

In early 2019, the order book forArianespace reached € 4.2 billion. That is the equivalent of 54 launches: 70% commercial, 30% institutional value; 40% for geostationary missions (GEO) and 60% for non GEO missions; and 68% for telecoms, 24% for Earth observation, 4% for navigation and 4% for science and technology. This represents 18 Ariane (13 Ariane 5, three Ariane 62 and two Ariane 64) 26 Soyuz and 10 Vega / Vega C.

Up to 12 launches in 2019

Arianespace is planning up to 12 launches since the CSG in 2019, including two institutional missions. In detail, the company has up to five Ariane 5s, all in double launches to the geostationary transfer orbit, the first scheduled for 5 February 2019 for Arabsat, Hellas Sat and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology customers. "On the one hand and ISRO, the Indian space agency, on the other. It targets up to three Soyuz with the first launch of the OneWeb constellation on February 19, which will pave the way for future launches from Baikonur starting in the last quarter of 2019. The Russian launcher will also launch a fifth mission for the constellation O3b ( SES), the COSMO-SkyMed / CHEOPS mission for the Italian Space Agency and Ministry of Defense and ESA.

Finally, Vega will perform up to four Vega launches : the PRISMA mission for the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the two Falcon Eye for the United Arab Emirates and the demonstration flight of the Vega Small Vessel Launch Service (SSMS), a program launched by ESA in 2016 with the contribution of the European Commission. This flight aims to meet the institutional and commercial needs of the promising new micro-satellite market. The qualifying flight for Vega C is scheduled for the end of the year. Together with ESA, developer of the Vega C program, and Avio, prime contractor for the launcher, Arianespace is actively preparing the first launch of Vega C which, thanks to an increase in its carrying capacity (useful mass and volume), will be able to accomplish an even greater variety of missions (from nanosatellites to large optical satellites and radars).

Already three launching campaigns are currently underway at the Guiana Space Center with the three launcher Arianespace. The sustained pace of the last quarter of 2018 continues with four targeted launches from the first quarter of 2019. An ambitious program within the reach of Arianespace.