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Astrium: 56th successful launch of Ariane 5

Ariane 5 has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 56th time in a row, once again confirming the reliability of the European launcher developed and built by Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company. For this launch Astrium was also the prime contractor of Alphasat, the world’s most sophisticated commercial telecommunications satellite.

“This 56th consecutive successful launch of Ariane 5 has once again shown, if proof were needed, that the commitment of the 6,000 people working on the programme has much to do with the exceptional reliability of the heavy-lift European launcher,” said Astrium CEO François Auque following the launch. “The future of European space, especially in the field of launchers, needs to become more competitive, and reliability remains a key element in achieving that’’.

The required performance for this, the 214th Ariane flight, was 9674 kg in geostationary transfer orbit, including 8710 kg for the two satellites. The remaining weight was for Astrium’s SYLDA dual launch system and the integration hardware for the two satellites.

Astrium is the prime contractor of the Ariane 5 launchers. Astrium has been overseeing Ariane 5’s industrial network since 2003, covering more than 550 companies (more than 20% of them SMEs) in 12 European countries. Astrium Space Transportation also manages the entire industry supply chain, from the manufacture of equipment and stages to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana, in line with the customer’s specifications. Thanks to the expertise the company has acquired and the investments it has made in this near 10-year period, Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and has increased its geostationary orbit payload capacity by nearly one metric tonne. A flagship of European know-how, the Ariane 5 launcher has been specifically designed to carry heavy payloads into space.

About Astrium


Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Astrium had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Astrium Satellites, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Astrium Services, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.