European launch provider Arianespace completed the first Ariane 5 mission of the year Feb. 5, lofting two telecom satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.
The Ariane 5 launch will carry two telecom satellites: Arabsat’s SaudiGEOSat-1/Hellas Sat 4, and the Indian space agency ISRO’s GSAT-31.
With the maiden flight of the Ariane 6 now 18 months away (in July 2020), Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said the company had anticipated signing a manufacturing contract with ArianeGroup in the second part of last year to begin production beyond the first rocket.
European launch provider Arianespace is planning to conduct a record number of Vega launches this year, and, if OneWeb is ready, a return to launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
European launch provider Arianespace completed its final launch of the year Dec. 19, sending the French spy satellite CSO-1 into orbit on a Soyuz ST-A rocket.
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.