PARIS — Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch consortium on April 12 reported final 2012 revenue of 1.329 billion euros ($1.75 billion) and the expected wafer-thin profit of 1.7 million euros after a 70 million euro contribution to operating charges made by the 20-nation European Space Agency (ESA).
ESA governments expect that their annual payments permitting Evry, France-based Arianespace to reach break-even status each year will decline in the coming years as the company takes advantage of synergies in the use of three rockets at the Guiana Space Center — the medium-lift Russian Soyuz and the smaller Vega launch vehicle in addition to the heavy-lift Ariane 5.
ESA has approved work on an Ariane 5 upgrade and an Ariane 5 successor called Ariane 6, both of which have been promoted as offering Arianespace a stronger financial performance that will reduce or eliminate the ESA support payments. The agency’s governments are scheduled to meet in mid-2014 to decide whether to pursue one or both of these programs.
Arianespace’s 2012 results showed a 31.5 percent increase in revenue and a 6 percent increase in profit from 2011. The company is owned mainly by the French space agency, CNES, and the companies that build Ariane 5, led by prime contractor Astrium Space Transportation.