Airbus Defence and Space

Ariane’s 30th anniversary

A personal tribute from Airbus Defence and Space’s CEOs

François Auque, CEO of Airbus Defence and SpaceFrançois Auque, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space: “Ariane was a springboard for the founding and development of the European space industry and, indeed, one of the primary elements in the founding of Airbus Defence and Space. As guarantor of Europe’s independent access to space, it is also a symbol of the great successes European industry can achieve when joining forces in a smart way. Through the satellites it launches – many of which are made by Airbus Defence and Space – it makes our lives that bit easier and safer. Moreover, and thanks in no small part to its unparalleled level of reliability, Ariane is the global market leader and a resounding commercial success. Of all the adventures in European space, it has to be one of the most phenomenal. For me, every time I see an Ariane launch – and I have clearly seen quite a few! – there are a few seconds of great emotion, as I know what level of technological maturity a successful launch entails.”

Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Defence and SpaceAlain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space: “I know that I speak for all of our employees when I say that even after so many launches, our hearts still miss a beat every time: 30 years on, the sense of excitement is still the same. It is with great pride that Airbus Defence and Space employees can say that, through years of sheer hard work and determination, we are consistently able to deliver an integrated and tested launcher to our Arianespace customer, on quality, on time and on cost. And with each launch, Airbus Defence and Space demonstrates not only its ability and commitment to deliver, but its dependability.” Referring to the industrial impact of the programme, he reminds us that the Ariane programme “secures thousands of highly skilled jobs throughout Europe’s space industry – from SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to agencies, institutes and its biggest space company, Airbus Defence and Space.” On the commercial market, Mr Charmeau emphasises that: “Ariane is the only launch vehicle today capable of launching two payloads simultaneously, thus offering the commercial market’s greatest lift capacity. In summary it has been an extremely successful 30 years – not without its challenges – but we have clearly proven Europe’s expertise.”

Evert Dudok, CEO of Airbus Defence and SpaceEvert Dudok, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space: “Without Ariane, numerous space missions would not have been possible. Many of our satellites have been successfully launched by Ariane: among them, famous Earth observation and science missions such as Envisat, Soho, Rosetta and Herschel, as well as a number of telecommunications satellites such as the Skynet 5s. Whatever the destination – in orbit around the Earth or into the depths of space – the precision and reliability of Ariane is unrivalled and all of us within Airbus Defence and Space benefit from this. On a more personal note I would like to say that a launch of an Ariane vehicle is clearly an unforgettable event. I find the explosion of sound and majestic, unfaltering ascent very moving.”

Eric Beranger, CEO of Airbus Defence and SpaceEric Béranger, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space: “To me it is very simple. Without Ariane, I think it is doubtful that Airbus Defence and Space, and maybe even Airbus Defence and Space, would exist at all! I started my career with some of those who pioneered the emergence of satellite communications, those who received the first TV signals from Early Bird in Pleumeur Bodou, Brittany. They were exciting times. Those who built the first Earth stations in the French overseas territories, when there was only one boat every six months, were virtually abandoned with a few crates of kit and expected to construct and operate the Earth stations with their bare hands. These people also pioneered the first European experimental telecommunications satellite – a Franco–German programme, named Symphonie. At that time, there was no Ariane and the only way to launch a satellite was to beg a ride on a US launcher. To be allowed to launch, these pioneers had to promise that they would never use their satellite for any commercial business. I will always remember this, and every time I see Ariane lifting off, I immediately think about autonomous access to space, without which our business would simply not exist. Each Ariane launch lights up the Guianese night. Let’s not forget that it has also enlightened the road to our future.”

Launcher SystemArianeAriane 4Ariane 5