[Via Satellite 09-09-2014] Arianespace has secured contracts for five Ariane 5 launches in 2016 and 2017. The launch provider received contracts from Intelsat to launch Intelsat 36, Sky Perfect JSAT for JCSat 15, Korea Telekom for KoreaSat 7, Avanti Communications for Avanti 4, and YahSat to launch Al Yah 3.
All of the satellites are slated for dual launches to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) in the lower position. The lighter weight of these spacecraft, ranging from 3,000 to 3,500 kg, has enabled the more cost-effective launches. Arianespace plans to pair off these satellites with heavier spacecraft for their respective launches.
The new orders bring to 11 the number of contract wins for Arianespace this year. According to the company, its $5.8 billion backlog of orders represents 60 percent of the commercial launch market. This backlog is comprised of 38 Ariane 5 launches to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), four dedicated Ariane 5 launches, seven Soyuz launches, and nine Vega launches. At World Satellite Business Week, Stéphane Israël, chairman and CEO of Arianespace said the company expects to have 15 contracts signed by the end of the week.
Arianespace reports it has upped the launch rate from the Guiana Space Center to meet heightening launch demands. Additionally, the company recently launched a competitiveness improvement project with the main goal of reducing costs for the total European launcher industry.