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Press releases

30 October 2014

Arianespace signs contract with ELV for ten Vega launchers

Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, and Pierluigi Pirrelli, Chief Executive of ELV (European Launch Vehicle), signed a contract today, October 29, 2014, in Rome, confirming Arianespace's order of ten Vega launch vehicles from the Italian manufacturer.

This contract follows the long-term procurement agreement concerning these ten launchers, signed in Rome on November 20, 2013 in a ceremony attended by French President François Hollande and Enrico Letta, Chairman of the Italian Council of Ministers.

Today's contract signing ceremony was held at the Italian Ministry of Research in Rome, and was attended by Stefania Giannini, Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research, Professor Roberto Battiston, President of Italian space agency ASI, Catherine Colonna, the French ambassador to Italy, Pier Giuliano Lasagni, the Chairman and CEO of Avio, and other representatives of the Italian government.

The ten Vega launchers ordered today, representing more than three years of business for Arianespace, will enter service at the end of 2015. They will cover more than 3 years of operation: during this period the contract, along with the activities related, will produce revenues to ELV for about 300 Meuro.

Following the success of the first three Vega launches(1) and nine new missions signed by Arianespace, today's production contract confirms the long-term viability of Vega, now established as the best launch vehicle in the light-lift class.

Vega is a European Space Agency (ESA) program and it is perfectly suited to the launch of small scientific and Earth observation satellites into low or Sun-synchronous orbit. It is available for not only European government and institutional launches, but also export contracts.

Arianespace is the launch system operator during the operational phase, with responsibility for the marketing and sale of launch services, and is prime contractor for launch operations. Vega is operated alongside the Ariane 5 heavy launcher and the Soyuz medium launcher as part of the Arianespace family of launchers at the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

ELV, based in Colleferro, Italy, is the industrial prime contractor for the Vega launcher. It is a public-private joint venture, owned by Avio (70%) and the Italian space agency (30%).

Following the signature of this contract, Ms. Giannini, Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, said: "The space field has enormous potential and can play its part in the relaunch of our economy. Today's agreement is a demonstration and it is also a confirmation of the importance of our industry."

ASI chief Roberto Battiston added: "Vega represents Italian technological excellence. Today's agreement signature is a demonstration of the industrial benefits in the field of space resulting from years of investment in hightechnology infrastructure and highly specialized personnel. The importance of this agreement is evident not only in economic terms. It is the reflection of the presence and abilities of our domestic industry that allows Europe to excel in the highly competitive field of launchers. The Vega program testifies to the successes possible through an effective and coordinated strategic effort."

Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman and CEO, said: "Vega is a technological achievement that Italy can really be proud of. It owes a lot to the industrial excellence of Avio combined with the unwavering support of the Italian government through ASI: both have succeeded in associating their skills within ELV to form a Public Private Partnership and come up with what will remain a major accomplishment in the space industry. Today, Arianespace is delighted to confirm the new impulse given to Vega's exploitation ramping up through the signature with ELV of a procurement contract for 10 additional units: these launchers will start to be delivered as soon as 2016, as requested by our order book, 6 of them being already assigned to various customers, both institutional and commercial. We are determined to go on working with our Italian partners to make Vega a successful program in the long run within the European Space Agency framework. Many thanks to Minister Giannini for hosting this event and to Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency, for his commitment on the Vega program."

Pier Giuliano Lasagni, Chairman and CEO of Avio, underscored the commitment of everybody who contributes to Vega's success, noting: "Vega boosts Italian exports in this high-tech sector. The contract signed today will play a substantial role in maintaining over 1,000 skilled trade jobs in Italy, and just as many in Europe, through at least 2018. I am referring to highly experienced and qualified technicians and line workers, along with value-added engineering, which fosters dynamic collaboration with universities and other research centers in Italy. It also attracts top talent, who are proud of this opportunity to produce work on a par with their counterparts in Italy and worldwide."


1 VV01 on February 13, 2012 (Lares, Almasat-1, Cubesat-1), VV02 on May 7, 2013 (Proba-V, VNREDSat-1, ESTCube-1) and VV03 on April 30, 2014 (KazEOSat-1).