Airbus Safran Launchers issued a report reflecting upon the accomplishments in 2016, and there were many.
Mid year the construction of the company was finalized with the placement of personnel and sites in France and Germany, and 76 successful consecutive launches. In December Arianespace joined the Airbus Safran Launchers group becoming a 74 percent owned subsidiary following the buy-out of the CNES shares. Their accomplishments included the fact that the Ariane 5 launcher broke Ariane 4's record of 74 successful successive launches.
This year was marked by a series of exceptional successes:
With a total of 76 consecutive successful launches, achieved in December with the 7th launch of 2016, Ariane 5 broke Ariane 4’s record of 74 successful launches in a row. The launcher also broke a number of other records: performance, number of satellites placed in orbit and mission duration.
The Ariane 6 program passed two decisive milestones: confirmation of launcher maturity following the first design review last June and signing of the amendment to the initial contract with ESA, enabling the necessary funds to be committed to finalizing development and industrial production.
At the same time, Airbus Safran Launchers is actively continuing to prepare for the European launchers of tomorrow, in particular with the Prometheus very low cost reusable engine project, which will make extensive use of 3D printing.
In the Defense field, all of the company’s goals were reached, in particular with the successful validation firing of an M51 strategic ballistic missile on July 1, 2016, from the “Le Triomphant” submarine. Through the development work it is conducting for the French defense procurement agency (DGA) Airbus Safran Launchers will continue to propose innovative and efficient solutions for the French Deterrent force.
Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers said, “In 2016, Airbus Safran Launchers kept all its promises, placing Ariane 6 firmly on track, while continuing to ensure that Ariane 5 remains reliable and competitive. The finalization of the Airbus Safran Launchers group organization, including Arianespace, enables us to continue to set up a more integrated and optimized governance for the Ariane launchers, from design to marketing, while allowing Arianespace to continue to carry out its missions for its other customers in complete independence. I wish to thank the European Space Agency and the national agencies for their support, which has enabled us to achieve these excellent results. However, this is just the beginning of the adventure and, in 2017, we will be kicking off the production of Ariane 6, to ensure that we are ready in 2020. Operation of Ariane 5 will continue, with seven launches scheduled for the year, while continuing to further improve launcher performance and cost reductions, on a market where competition is increasingly fierce. In this respect, the structuring of the European institutional market, through a multi-year order for 5 Ariane launchers, will be a key factor in competitiveness, both for our customers and for ourselves. Innovation must remain the driving force behind our creativity and our responsiveness, in order to facilitate access to space for our customers, both today and tomorrow”.