Contract kicks off Soyuz operations phase in Kourou
ARIANESPACE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 14, 2006
Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, and Anatoly Perminov, Director General of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, today signed the supply contract for the first four Soyuz launch vehicles to be launched from the Guiana Space Center (Kourou, French Guiana) starting in 2008. The ceremony in Moscow was attended by the French and Russian prime ministers.
Coming less than a year after the go-ahead for the development of the Soyuz/Guiana Space Center project, this latest step consolidates the European-Russian partnership on Soyuz, now organized in a two-pronged approach.
First, launches from Baikonur under the responsibility of Starsem, a joint subsidiary of EADS/Arianespace (50%) and their Russian partners (50%). To date, Starsem has carried out 15 launches from Baikonur, all successful, for scientific, communications and Galileo spacecraft. Three launches are planned in 2006 and three more in 2007.
Secondly, launches from the Guiana Space Center, under the responsibility of Arianespace. A Soyuz launch pad is now being built in French Guiana. The European Space Agency and Arianespace are co-financing this work, worth a total of 344 million euros, with French space agency CNES as prime contractor, assisted by Arianespace.
The first Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center is slated for November 2008. Arianespace has already signed several launch contracts for Soyuz, which will round out the company's family of launchers, alongside Ariane 5 and Vega.