Arianespace: Top Satellite Launch Company in 2020

Arianespace SA is a multinational company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial launch service provider. It undertakes the operation and marketing of the Ariane programme.

The company offers a number of different launch vehicles: the heavy-lift Ariane 5 for dual launches to geostationary transfer orbit, the Soyuz-2 as a medium-lift alternative, and the solid-fueled Vega for lighter payloads.

Arianespace france
Arianespace France - Logo

As of May 2017, Arianespace had launched more than 550 satellites in 254 launches over 36 years (236 Ariane missions minus the first 8 flights handled by CNES, 17 Soyuz-2 missions and 9 Vega missions).

The first commercial flight managed by the new entity was Spacenet F1 launched on 23 May 1984. Arianespace uses the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana as its main launch site.

Through shareholding in Starsem, it can also offer commercial Soyuz launches from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. It has its headquarters in Évry-Courcouronnes, Essonne, France



Key Description of Arianespace:

CEO: Stéphane Israël (22 Apr 2013–)

Headquarters: Courcouronnes, France

Parent organization: ArianeGroup

Revenue: 143.3 crores EUR (2015)

Founder: Frédéric d'Allest

Founded: 1980

Official Website

Social Network: YouTube, Twitter


History of Arianespace:

The formation of Arianespace SA is closely associated with the desire of several European nations to pursue joint collaboration in the field of space exploration and the formation of a pan-national organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), to oversee such undertaking during 1973.

Prior to the ESA's formation, France had been lobbying for the development of a new European expendable launch system to serve as a replacement for the Europa rocket.

Accordingly, one of the first programmes launched by the ESA was the Ariane heavy launcher.

The express purpose of this launcher was to facilitate the delivery of commercial satellites into geosynchronous orbit

France was the largest stakeholder in the Ariane development programme.

French aerospace manufacturer Aérospatiale served as the prime contractor and held responsibility for performing the integration of all sections of the vehicle, while French engine manufacturer Société Européenne de Propulsion (SEP) provided both the first and second stage engines (the third stage engines were produced by Air Liquide and German aerospace manufacturer MBB).

Other major companies involved included the French electronics firm Matra, Swedish manufacturer Volvo, and German aircraft producer Dornier Flugzeugwerke.

Development of the third stage was a major focus point for the project - prior to Ariane, only the United States had ever flown a launcher that utilised hydrogen-powered upper stages.

During 2002, the ESA announced the Arianespace Soyuz programme in cooperation with Russia; a launch site for Soyuz was constructed as the Guiana Space Centre, while the Soyuz launch vehicle was modified for use at the site.

On 4 February 2005, both funding and final approval for the initiative were granted. Arianespace had offered launch services on the modified Soyuz ST-B to its clients.

On 21 October 2011, Arianespace launched the first Soyuz rocket ever from outside former Soviet territory. The payload consisted of two Galileo navigation satellites.

Since 2011, Arianespace has ordered a total of 23 Soyuz rockets, enough to cover its needs until 2019 at a pace of three to four launches per year.

On 21 January 2019, Ariane Group and Arianespace announced that it had signed a one-year contract with the ESA to study and prepare for a mission to the Moon to mine regolith.

In 2020, Arianespace suspended operations for nearly two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Operations were suspended on 18 March and are, as of 29 April, expected to resume on 11 May.The return to operations will observe a number of new health and safety guidelines including social distancing in the workplace.



Company And Infrastructure:


Country Total share Shareholder Capital
Belgium 3.36% SABCA 2.71%
Thales Alenia Space Belgium 0.33%
Safran Aero Boosters [fr] 0.32%
France 64.10%
ArianeGroup 62.10%
Air Liquide SA 1.89%
Clemessy [fr] 0.11%
CIE Deutsche <0.01%
Germany 19.85% ArianeGroup 11.59%
MT Aerospace [de] AG 8.26%
Italy 3.38% Avio S.p.A. 3.38%
Netherlands 1.94% Airbus Defence and Space B.V. 1.94%
Norway 0.11% Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS 0.11%
Spain 2.14% Airbus Defence and Space SAU 2.03%
CRISA 0.11%
Sweden 2.45% GKN Aerospace Sweden AB 1.63%
RUAG Space AB 0.82%
Switzerland 2.67% RUAG Schweiz AG 2.67%