January 5, 2011

Arianespace Announces Launches For 2011

Arianespace announced Tuesday that it has planned 10 launches for this year, including six Ariane 5 rockets and the first Russian Soyuz rockets from the European launch center in French Guiana starting in August.

The company only managed six of its seven planned launches of the Ariane 5 rockets in 2010 due to technical problems. Arianespace also had a revenue shortfall of 133 million US dollars last year to about 1.2 billion dollars (900 million euros), Jean-Yves Le Gall told AFP.

Last year's delayed launch of the Russian Soyuz rockets in French Guiana should finally take place the middle of this year, "most likely during the month of August," Le Gall said.

The company hopes to launch two Soyuz rockets this year from Kourou, French Guiana, plus another three from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the Globalstar 2 satellite telecommunications system, he added.

Of the 20 satellites placed into geo-stationary orbits last year, 12 were launched by Arianespace. The other 8 came from the Russian-American company International Launch Services (ILS) on board of Russian Proton rockets.

Arianespace had planned to start launching the 44-year-old Soviet-era Soyuz from Kourou in 2009, but was delayed due to problems with a mobile launch pad.

Arianespace's shareholders, which include the EADS aerospace company plus France's space research agency, have made contributions to the company's capital, said Le Gall without specifying the amount. Arianespace is also expected to receive support from the European Space Agency, the amount of which should be decided in March, he added.


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