|Launch Service Provider|
|Revenue||EUR1.433 billion (2015)|
|EUR4 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Arianespace SA is a multinational company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial launch service provider. It undertakes the operation and marketing of the Ariane programme. The company offers a number of different launch vehicles: the heavy-lift Ariane 5 for dual launches to geostationary transfer orbit, the Soyuz-2 as a medium-lift alternative, and the solid-fueled Vega for lighter payloads.
As of May 2017 in 254 launches over 35 years (236 Ariane missions minus the first 8 flights handled by CNES, 17 Soyuz-2 missions and 9 Vega missions). The first commercial flight managed by the new entity was Spacenet F1 launched on 23 May 1984. Arianespace uses the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana as its main launch site. Through shareholding in Starsem, it can also offer commercial Soyuz launches from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France, near Évry., Arianespace had launched more than 550 satellites
Arianespace SA was founded in 1980 as the operation and marketing arm of the Ariane launch vehicle programme, seven years after the formation of the pan-national Ariane programme by the European Space Agency in 1973.:161 The launcher was to be developed for the purpose of sending commercial satellites into geosynchronous orbit with a family of Ariane launch vehicles.:161-166France was the largest stakeholder in the Ariane development programme.:166
Immediately following the successful first test launch of an Ariane 1 on 24 December 1979, The French space agency CNES and ESA created a new company--Arianespace--for the purpose of promoting, marketing, and managing Ariane operations.:169 Three addition test flights were carried out, with one failure and two more successes. The first commercial launch took place on 10 September 1982, and ended in failure when a turbopump failed in the third stage.:170-172 The six remaining flights of Ariane 1 were successful, with the final flight occurring in February 1986.
Arianespace "is the marketing and sales organization for the European space industry and various component suppliers."
|Thales Alenia Space Belgium||0.33%|
|Safran Aero Boosters||0.32%|
|Air Liquide SA||1.89%|
|MT Aerospace AG||8.26%|
|Netherlands||1.94%||Airbus Defence and Space B.V.||1.94%|
|Norway||0.11%||Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS||0.11%|
|Spain||2.14%||Airbus Defence and Space SAU||2.03%|
|Sweden||2.45%||GKN Aerospace Sweden AB||1.63%|
|RUAG Space AB||0.82%|
|Switzerland||2.67%||RUAG Schweiz AG||2.67%|
In 2015, Arianespace shareholding was restructured due to the creation of Airbus Safran Launchers (later renamed ArianeGroup), which is tasked with developing and manufacturing the Ariane 6 carrier rocket. Industrial groups Airbus and Safran pooled their shares along with the French government's CNES stake to form a partnership company holding just under 74% of Arianespace shares, while the remaining 26% is spread across suppliers in nine countries including further Airbus subsidiaries.
As of October 2018, the Arianespace management team was:
|Arianespace Chief Executive Officer, ArianeGroup Executive VP||Stéphane Israël|
|Senior Vice-President, Sales & Business Development||Jacques Breton|
|Senior Vice-President, Missions, Operations & Purchasing||Luce Fabreguettes|
|Senior Vice President - Technical and Quality; Chief Technical Officer||Roland Lagier|
|Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer||Michel Doubovick|
|Senior Vice President, Human Resources||Philippe Nicolaï|
|Senior Vice President, Brand and Communications||Isabelle Veillon|
|Location||Head of branch|
|French Guiana||Bruno Gérard|
|USA, Washington D.C.||Wiener Kernisan|
|Japan, Tokyo||Kiyoshi Takamatsu|
|ASEAN, Singapore||Vivian Quenet|
However, the disruptive force represented by the new sector entrant SpaceX forced Arianespace to cut back on its workforce and focus on cost-cutting to decrease costs to remain competitive against the new low-cost entrant in the launch sector.
According to an Arianespace managing director, "It's quite clear there's a very significant challenge coming from SpaceX," he said in 2015. "Therefore things have to change ... and the whole European industry is being restructured, consolidated, rationalised and streamlined."
In the midst of pricing pressure from U.S. company SpaceX, Arianespace made a November 2013 announcement of pricing flexibility for the "lighter satellites" it carries to Geostationary orbits aboard its Ariane 5.
In early 2014, Arianespace was considering requesting additional subsidies from European governments to face the competition from SpaceX and unfavorable changes in the Euro-Dollar exchange rate. The company had halved subsidy support by EUR100m per year since 2002 but the fall in the value of the US Dollar meant Arianespace was losing EUR60m per year due to currency fluctuations on launch contracts.
Reducing the cost allowed Arianespace to sign four additional contracts in September 2014 for lower slots on an Ariane 5 SYLDA dispenser for the satellites that otherwise could be flown on a SpaceX launch vehicle.
Arianespace signed 11 contracts in 2014 until September that year. with two additional being in a late stage of negotiations. As of September 2014Ariane 5, 7 on Soyuz and 9 on Vega, claiming 60% of the global satellite launch market.Arianespace has a backlog of launches worth EUR4.5 billion with 38 satellites to be launched on
By November 2014, SpaceX had "already begun to take market share" from Arianespace, and Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen -- a major customer of Arianespace -- said that "Each year that passes will see SpaceX advance, gain market share and further reduce its costs through economies of scale."
Currently Arianespace operates 3 launch vehicles, including two versions of Ariane 5:
|Name||Payload to LEO (including SSO)||Payload to GTO|
|Vega||1,450 kilograms (3,200 lb)||-|
|Soyuz||4,400 kilograms (9,700 lb)||3,250 kilograms (7,170 lb)|
|Ariane 5 ECA||-||10,500 kilograms (23,100 lb)|
|Ariane 5 ES||21,000 kilograms (46,000 lb)||-|
Since the first launch in 1979, there have been several versions of the Ariane launch vehicle:
The new Ariane 6 vehicle is in development. It would have a similar payload capacity to the Ariane 5 but have considerably lower costs. Tentatively, its first flight is planned for 2020.
France-based Arianespace has responded by squeezing, to a limited degree, its supplier base. But Ariane 5 builders are also Arianespace shareholders, limiting the company's leverage on them.
The Arianespace commercial launch consortium is telling its customers it is open to reducing the cost of flights for lighter satellites on the Ariane 5 rocket in response to the challenge posed by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.