Arianespace May Help Underwrite Vega Risk


Europe’s Arianespace commercial launch company is willing to take part in insurance policies for the new Vega small-satellite launch vehicle to ease the rocket’s entry into the market, the head of Arianespace’s financing and insurance department said.

Anne Aufrere said the Evry, France-based company is looking to convince insurance underwriters that the heavy-lift Ariane 5, the medium-lift Soyuz and the smaller Vega — whose inaugural flight in February was successful — should receive similar insurance treatment.

Acknowledging that new rockets have a learning curve that makes insurers reluctant to assign them low premiums, Aufrere said, “Arianespace could retain some launch exposure as a way to promote the convergent evolution of the Vega [insurance] rates. This is something we are contemplating.”

Arianespace has 52 rockets under production — 31 Ariane 5s, 16 Russian-built Soyuz rockets and five Vega vehicles. The European Space Agency will be the customer for the next five Vega missions as part of an extended demonstration program.