Europe's Arianespace inks new deals at US conference
European satellite launch operator Arianespace announced at a satellite expo in Washington Tuesday that it had signed two new contracts this week for launches in the coming years.
Arianespace on Monday inked a deal to launch a communications orbiter with satellite provider Eutelsat and a Qatari operator, and Tuesday unveiled another deal with Australian operator Newsat.
It's "a good start to the year," Arianespace boss Jean-Yves Le Gall told AFP at the Satellite 2012 conference.
Le Gall said the company has a record backlog of orders worth 4.7 billion euros.
Since the start of the year, Arianespace has signed with the European Commission contracts to launch 12 Galileo satellites by Ariane 5 launchers.
This year it will conduct six or seven launches by the heavy lifter Ariane 5, and five by the medium-sized Soviet-Russian space veteran Soyuz.
On February 14 Arianespace conducted the first launch using the new rocket Vega, which showcased the lightweight launcher's capacity to place a 1.5-ton satellite into low-Earth orbit.
For 2011, the company is expected to announce total revenues of more than one billion euros (1.3 billion dollars) and is set break even.
(c) 2012 AFP