La précision du tir du James Webb Telescope sur Ariane 5 le 25 décembre dernier a permis des gains de carburants, qui garantissent au télescope une durée de vie plus proche de dix ans que du minimum garanti de cinq ans.

Posted on January 6, 2022, 6:26 pmUpdated Jan 6, 2022 6:51 PM

Sigh at Arianespace. After a slow start to the year in 2021, which was punished in large part by the health crisis, the European operator of space launches put gas into the second half of the year to finish these twelve months with a good record of 15 successful launches. Arianespace put 305 satellites into orbit last year, from three different space bases, with European launchers Vega, Ariane and Russia’s Soyuz.

The company’s turnover exceeded 1.25 billion euros, an increase of 30% compared to 2020, welcomes its President Stefan Israel. However, like last year, Arianespace made more use of the Russian Soyuz launcher from the Baikonur and Vostochny ports than the European Ariane and Vega missiles, each of which carried out only 6 shots from the Kuru.

Mission juice

The contract in 2015 to deploy a constellation of about 600 OneWeb communications satellites, which was renegotiated in 2020 after the operator’s bankruptcy, still fuels most Arianespace’s business, with nine shots in fifteen in 2021 and probably still six to eight shots. . Of the seventeen planned this year. With OneWeb, 2022 will be a busy year with four launch flights for Ariane 5 and the inaugural flights of Vega C in the spring and Ariane 6 in the fall.

Unless new delays disrupt the schedule, Arianespace’s activity slows dramatically. In the event of a delay, the operator will not be able to help its customers with the old Ariane 5 missile, because its last five flights are fully commercialized, and the last dispatch flight will be booked in 2023 for the next major mission. A European scientist, named Juice, is destined to explore Jupiter and its icy moons. But Stefan Israel says he is “very confident” of Ariane 6’s success.

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11 Order Ariane 6

However, he must standardize the controls of the new operator. Of the 36 launches, eleven concern Ariane 6. Arianespace has announced a contract with Brussels for the last eight satellites of the Galilean constellation as well as the Platino 1 and 2 Earth observation satellites. To establish new launcher functions, Arianespace is taking advantage of the agreement entered into this summer by the European Space Agency.

It guarantees Ariane 6 a minimum of four institutional launches per year, to be supplemented by financial assistance corresponding to three additional launches, if Arianespace cannot find suitable commercial clients. The same mechanism has been adopted for the new Vega C version of the light launcher, with two launches per year on behalf of European organizations, supplemented by financial aid corresponding to a third launch.

new constellation

At this point, Stéphane Israell maintains that Arianespace remains the operator of choice for commercial clients, such as Eutelsat, even as opposed to SpaceX. The Elon Musk rocket, of course, fired twice as many shots as last year, but mainly on its own, with seventeen shots to deploy Starlink, and for NASA (eight shots), in particular for serving the International Space Station or United. Pentagon. However, in order to boost its future and maintain its competitiveness, the European missile will need a new constellation to launch it.

That is why one of the main challenges of the next European Space Council scheduled for next February in Toulouse, in which the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron planned to participate, will be whether or not to ratify the project led by Commissioner Thierry. Breton to launch a European constellation of telecommunications and Internet services.

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