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Type Launch Service Provider
Industry Aerospace
Founded 1980
Headquarters Courcouronnes, France
Employees 315 [1]

Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company.[2] It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle as part of the Ariane programme.[3] Two other launch systems are offered by the company, the Soyuz-2 as a medium-lift alternative to Ariane 5, and the Vega as a lighter one.[4]

As of 2004, Arianespace held more than 50 percent of the world market for boosting satellites to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).[5] More than 240 commercial launches have occurred since May 22, 1984, and Arianespace states that the total number of launch contracts signed since Ariane launches commenced operations in 1984 is 285.[3] Arianespace uses the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana as a launch site. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France,[6] near Évry.[7]

On 21 October 2011 Arianespace launched the first Soyuz rocket ever from outside former Soviet territory. The payload was two Galileo navigation satellites.[8]

The company and its infrastructure[edit]

Arianespace has 24 shareholders from 10 European countries, including:[9]

Country Shareholders Capital
 France 7 60.12%
 Germany 2 18.62%
 Italy 2 9.36%
 Belgium 3 3.15%
  Switzerland 2 2.51%
 Sweden 2 2.30%
 Spain 3 2.01%
 Netherlands 1 1.82%
 Norway 1 0.10%
 Denmark 1 not significant

Total of 99.99% due to round-off

Corporate management is structured as follows:

Position Name
CEO & Chairman Stéphane Israël
Senior Vice-President of Programs Laurent Louis
Senior Vice-President, Sales and Customers Jacques Breton
General Secretary, Senior Vice-President of Finances Jean-Max Puech


Location of Office Head of Branch
French Guiana, France Patrick Loire
United States Clayton Mowry
Tokyo, Japan Kiyoshi Takamatsu
Singapore Richard Bowles

As of 1 January 2013, Arianespace employed 315 people at its French headquarters, at its launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, and at offices in Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C.


  • Arianespace inc. (U.S. Subsidiary)
  • Arianespace Singapore PTE LTD (Asean Subsidiary)
  • Starsem S.A. (European-Russian Soyuz commercialization)

Competition and pricing[edit]

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.[10] In early 2014, Arianespace requested additional subsidies from European governments to face the competition from SpaceX and unfavorable changes in the Euro-Dollar exchange rate.[11]

Ariane launch vehicles[edit]

Since the first launch in 1979, there have been several versions of the Ariane launch vehicle:

  • Ariane 1, first successful launch on December 24, 1979
  • Ariane 2, first successful launch on November 20, 1987 (the first launch on May 30, 1986 failed)
  • Ariane 3, first successful launch on August 4, 1984
  • Ariane 4, first successful launch on June 15, 1988
  • Ariane 5, first successful launch on October 30, 1997 (the first launch on June 4, 1996 failed).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arianespace - Service & Solutions". Arianespace. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  2. ^ "Ariane - The first commercial space transportation system". Retrieved 2008-03-07. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world’s first launch services and solutions company.". Archived from the original on February 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  4. ^ "Service & Solutions". Archived from the original on 12 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  5. ^ John McCormick (2004). The European Union (3 ed.). Westview Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-8133-4202-3. 
  6. ^ "Russians, French sign space contract.(UPI Science Report)." United Press International. 12 April 2005. Retrieved on 24 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Contact us." Arianespace. Retrieved on 24 September 2009.
  8. ^ "Arianespace Launches First European Soyuz". Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Arianespace shareholders represent scientific, technical, financial and political entities from 10 different European countries.". Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  10. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (2013-11-25). "SpaceX Challenge Has Arianespace Rethinking Pricing Policies". Space News. Retrieved 2013-11-27. "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." 
  11. ^ Svitak, Amy (2014-02-11). "Arianespace To ESA: We Need Help". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2014-02-12.