SATELLITE 2023: Arianespace prefers to look further into the future as 2023 is set to see low number of its launches

by | Mar 16, 2023 | commercial launch services, Seradata News

At the Launcher Roundtable at SATELLITE 2023 Arianespace CEO, Stéphane Israël, talked about his company’s activities for the coming years. 

The Launcher Roundtable speakers at SATELLITE 2023. Photo by Matt Wilson

 

He outlined what Arianespace expected to achieve this year: the launch of the major ESA interplanetary science  mission JUICE; the last flight of the Ariane 5 rocket; the return to flight of Vega C; and hopefully the maiden flight of the Ariane 6. These events together with a Vega 1 mission planned for the mid-year amount to just five launches for Arianespace in 2023. This is in comparison to previous years where the company has achieved 10+ missions and in a year where SpaceX is declaring a target of 100 launches of its Falcon 9 rocket. 

The picture looks rosier for the future however, as he pointed out that Ariane 6 has been designed to achieve at least 10 launches per year once properly operational, alongside a potential five Vega C missions yearly. Additionally, the Arianespace order backlog is still growing with over 20 Ariane 6 missions on its order book – not including the 18 launches booked by Amazon for its Kuiper constellation – and 17 Vega C flights. This number was increased a few days prior to this article as the Italian government (through ESA) contracted for two Vega C missions to launch EO sats for its planned IRIDE programme in late 2025. 

Ariane 6

Unfortunately for Mr Israël he was unable to firmly state that the maiden Ariane 6 mission would take place later this year only that it was likely. In order to achieve a Q4 launch both of the rockets stages and launch pad need to pass a number of tests Arianespace has lined up between now and then. If the testing programme hits a stumbling block it may push the first flight into next year. 

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