The payload fairings for the Ariane 5 launch vehicles are made by RUAG Space. Tomorrow, the 100th mission of Ariane 5 is set to launch. RUAG Space has delivered 244 payload fairings for the European prime industrial lead contractor ArianeGroup so far, and will also manufacture the fairings for the planned Ariane 6 launcher.
Up to 17m in length, a payload fairing makes up about a third of the structure of an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. It is located on the upper part of the rocket and consists of two half-shells. These composite structures protect the payload – mostly satellites – from environmental influences during takeoff and flight through the Earth’s atmosphere. At about 120km altitude, the half-shells are separated from each other and from the rocket in a precisely controlled process.
RUAG Space has been delivering payload fairings for European launch vehicle programs such as Ariane and Vega since the 1970s and is currently also developing the fairing for the future Ariane 6 rocket. “If you look at the rocket’s structure, it is the complete upper third that is made by RUAG Space. Thus, our company already plays an essential role in European space activities,” says Peter Guggenbach, RUAG Space CEO.
In addition to the payload fairing, electronics products from RUAG Space will also be on board at the planned launch on 25 September. The space company will also supply the on-board computer, the “brain” of the rocket, and the launcher telemetry antenna, made at its Swedish site.
To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to or to on September 25, 2018, beginning 20 minutes before liftoff.

About RUAG Space

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, with a growing presence in the United States. With more than 1,300 staff across six countries, it develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology Group RUAG.RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace and defence for use on land, in the air and in space. 56% of RUAG’s products and services are destined for the civil market and 44% for the military market. The Group is headquartered in Bern (Switzerland). It has production sites in Switzerland and in 15 other countries in Europe, the USA and Asia-Pacific. RUAG generates sales of approximately CHF 1.96 billion and has over 9,200 employees – 400 of whom are trainees.