Evry,France,December 17, 2003–Tillmann Mohr, Director General of Eumetsat, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, today signed the launch contract for the MSG 3 weather satellite at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris. Also present were Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, and Per Tegnèr, Chairman of the ESA Council.

The launch of MSG 3 is scheduled for the first half of 2009 from theGuianaSpaceCenterin Kourou,French Guiana, using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

MSG 3 is the ninth satellite that intergovernmental organization Eumetsat has entrusted to the European launcher. Arianespace’s order book already includes the MSG 2 satellite, slated for launch in the first quarter of 2005.

“This contract once again demonstrates the confidence ofEurope’s leading operators in the Ariane launch system,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, “and also symbolizes the guarantee ofEurope’s independent access to space. Arianespace is especially proud of its role in ensuring the continuity of weather forecasting services offered by Eumetsat inEuropeand around the world.”

Eumetsat Director General Tillmann Mohr added: “With this latest contract, Eumetsat confirms its support of European space policy, and our confidence in Arianespace, which has already launched seven Eumetsat satellites under optimum conditions.”

Built by Alcatel Space inCannes, southern France, MSG 3 will weigh about 2,000 kg at launch. It will have 12 channels and be capable of transmitting images every 15 minutes. The satellite will ensure service continuity, giving weather forecasters a powerful tool for the detection and prediction of meteorological events in Europeand neighboring regions.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).  Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 250 satellite payloads.  For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at www.arianespace.com.