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Arianespace Maintains Pole Position In Civil Launch Market

The big iron of space launching

Paris - Jan 07, 2004
Arianespace maintained its world leadership in the commercial launch services market in 2003 despite fierce competition and a depressed market. The company won eight contracts open for bidding during the year -- representing more than 50% of the market -- and it continues to set the global standards in launch services. In 2003, Starsem won the launch contract for Europe's Venus Express spacecraft.

As of January 6, 2004, Arianespace's backlog stood at 33 satellites to be launched, while Starsem had 3 satellites booked for upcoming missions.

Arianespace and Starsem carried out six launches in 2003, four from Kourou and two from Baikonur, launching a combined total of 10 satellites: eight commercial and two for governmental missions.

Also in 2003 were a series of ministerial-level decisions by the European Space Agency Council that guaranteed Arianespace's long-term future that firstly, eeaffirmed ESA's support for the Ariane 5 program and the resumption of Ariane 5 ECA missions, as well as reorganizing launcher development and production. While also officially approving the partnership with Russia, allowing Arianespace to deploy the Soyuz launcher from Europe's Spaceport at the Guiana Space Center by the end of 2006.

In line with these decisions Arianespace signed with EADS an order letter for 30 Ariane 5 launch vehicles covering Arianespace's needs through 2009.

Arianespace now has the resources needed to meet its ambitious objectives, namely a full range of launch vehicles -- Ariane, Soyuz and Vega -- that meet all customer requirements for both government and commercial missions.

Arianespace says it was also able to guarantee the launch of the DIRECTV 7S satellite, slated for the first half of 2004, thanks to the launch service alliance agreement signed in July 2003 with Boeing Launch Services and Sea Launch. This innovative solution, a first in the launch services market, means that customers can count on their scheduled launch dates.

Initially scheduled for launch on an Ariane 5, the Israeli satellite Amos 2 was orbited by a Soyuz-Fregat launcher from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 28. The change in launchers reflects the family policy set up by Arianespace and Starsem to meet customer requirements.

Outlook for 2004
Four to six Ariane 5s are scheduled to be launched this year. The first launch, planned for February 26, will send Europe's Rosetta scientific probe into an interplanetary orbit. Rosetta is scheduled to rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko in August 2014.

Furthermore. Consolidation of the Ariane 5 ECA version will continue in line with the recommendations of the Flight 157 inquiry board. The next flight of Ariane 5 ECA is now scheduled for the middle of 2004. It will orbit the XTAR satellite and a mockup payload.

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Sea Launch Embarks on the First Mission of 2004
Long Beach - Jan 05, 2004
The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander have departed Sea Launch Home Port for the launch of the Telstar 14/Estrela do Sul 1 communications satellite. Built by Space Systems/Loral for Loral Skynet, the satellite is scheduled for launch on a Zenit-3SL vehicle, January 9, at the start of a two-hour launch window that will open at 8:02 pm PST (4:02:00 GMT, January 10).

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