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Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company.[2] It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane 5 rocket launcher as part of the Ariane programme.[3]

As of 2004, Arianespace held more than 50 percent of the world market for boosting satellites to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).[4] More than 240 commercial launches have occurred since May 22, 1984, and Arianespace states that the total number of launch contracts signed since Ariane launches commenced operations in 1984 is 285.[3] Arianespace uses the Centre Spatial Guyanais as a launch site. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France,[5] near Évry.[6]


The company and its infrastructure

Arianespace has 24 shareholders from 10 European countries, including:[7]

Total of 99.99% due to round-off

Corporate management is structured as follows:


As of 1 January 2010, Arianespace employed 323 people at its French headquarters, at its launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, and at offices in Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C.

Ariane launch vehicles

Since the first launch in 1979, there have been several versions of the Ariane launch vehicle:

  • Ariane 1, first successful launch on December 24, 1979
  • Ariane 2, first successful launch on November 20, 1987 (the first launch on May 30, 1986 failed)
  • Ariane 3, first successful launch on August 4, 1984
  • Ariane 4, first successful launch on June 15, 1988
  • Ariane 5, first successful launch on October 30, 1997 (the first launch on June 4, 1996 failed).

See also

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