• New record for Ariane 5, which placed 10.317 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit
• Flight 212 is the 54th consecutive launch of the European Ariane 5 launcher, for which Airbus Defence and Space has been prime contractor since 2003
• The successful launch is Ariane 5’s first of 2013
Kourou, 7 February 2013 - Ariane 5 has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 54th time in a row, once again confirming the extraordinary reliability of the European launcher developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space technology company.
The required performance for this, the 212th Ariane flight, was 10.317 kg in geostationary transfer orbit, including 9.503 kg for the two satellites, a new record. The remaining weight was for Airbus Defence and Space’s SYLDA dual launch system and for the integration hardware.
The launch was performed by the Ariane 5 ECA launcher, which is capable of placing a dual payload into orbit, thus keeping operating costs down.
A continuous improvement programme led by Airbus Defence and Space in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA) has enhanced the launcher's performance, while at the same time pursuing cost savings, and enabling Ariane 5 to set a series of launch mass records into geostationary orbit, such as today's of more than 10.3 tonnes.
The prime contractor of the Ariane 5 European launcher since 2003, Airbus Defence and Space oversees an industrial network comprising more than 550 companies (over 20% of them SMEs) in 12 European countries. Thanks to the expertise the company has acquired and the investments it has made in this near 10 year period, Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and has increased its geostationary orbit payload capacity by nearly one metric ton.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover close to €5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.
Airbus Defence and Space is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.
Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment; Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.
Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.
Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK) Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR) Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER) Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP) Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41