Arianespace completed its final Ariane 5 launch of 2018 and penultimate overall mission for the year on Dec. 4, carrying a satellite for India and another for South Korea to geostationary transfer orbit.
An Arianespace Vega rocket launched the Mohammed 6-B satellite for Morocco the evening of Nov. 20, placing the satellite in the same orbit as its twin satellite Mohammed 6-A that launched a year ago, also on a Vega rocket.
An Arianespace Soyuz mission will launch Nov. 7 without any delays resulting from the failure of a crewed, Russian-operated Soyuz launch earlier this month, Arianespace said Oct. 30.
Arianespace said Oct. 11 it’s too soon to say whether the Soyuz-ST rockets it uses to launch satellites from South America will be grounded following the failure of a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket carrying crew to the International Space Station.
The next two to three years will be a time of adjustment in the space launch industry, according to panelists at Satellite Innovation 2018 here.
European launch provider Arianespace completed the 100th launch of a heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket Sept. 25, carrying two satellites co-owned between Intelsat and partner satellite operators.
With orders for geostationary orbit satellites declining, potentially permanently, commercial launch service providers are looking to government and other markets to make up for lost business.
A European wind-mapping satellite 15 years in the making lifted off Aug. 22 on a Vega rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The French space agency CNES has agreed to allocate an additional 10 million euros ($11.7 million) to further the economic and social development of French Guiana, the South American territory home to Europe’s spaceport.
The light-lift Vega rocket is Europe’s vehicle of choice for small satellites, but has mainly launched spacecraft weighing hundreds of kilograms. While that’s smaller than what Arianespace normally launches on an Ariane 5 or Soyuz, it’s not the “small” that people generally think of when they think smallsats.
An Ariane 5 launch has been cancelled after an unexplained problem with an Indian space agency satellite that was supposed to ride on the mission.
Arianespace on April 19 announced a agreement Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation BSAT and satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral to launch the BSAT-4b satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2020.