LONDON — Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch consortium on Dec. 6 agreed to spend 36.5 million euros ($50 million) to build a fueling facility at Europe’s South American spaceport to reduce the time needed between Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launches, Arianespace and the French space agency, CNES, announced Dec. 6. The building is scheduled to be operational in 2015.

CNES owns the property to be used for the new facility, which will be located at the Soyuz launch installation at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, on South America’s northeast coast.

CNES said its board of directors approved the use of the property for the facility and had conferred its development to Evry, France-based Arianespace, and to CNES’s launcher directorate.

Arianespace will use its own funds for construction of the 1,152-square-meter facility, and has agreed that 60 percent of the work will be performed under contracts with local industry.

Arianespace is trying to reduce the amount of time it takes between launches of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, the medium-lift Soyuz and light-class Vega vehicles to improve overall profitability. 

The company said the new fueling facility, once completed, will be used to fill the Soyuz rocket’s Fregat upper stage and allow Arianespace to free up capacity at the existing S3B building for Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega operations.

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Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.