Posted by June Arland   

Commercial space transportation technology has remained largely unchanged over the years, with some refinement. But pressure to reduce cost and prices while developing more complex systems within shrinking schedules, and legislative changes have led to compromises in quality. The inevitable result is increased failure, as evidenced by the recent rash of mishaps involving commercial, civil government and military missions. On show #702C ("Quality in Space"), World Business Review goes on-on-one with the commercial launch services leader, which is setting new quality standards while meeting the industry's requirement for tight-fistedness.

Arianspace Inc., the commercial launch services leader, maintains its position in the industry because of its steadfast commitment to reliability. Arianspace recently set a new standard for reliability, achieving a milestone with its 50th consecutive successful Ariane 4 launch. Arianspace has already eclipsed that achievement with the December 10, 1999 commercial launch of Ariane 5. This marks a profound increase in lift capability, and is the first operational heavy-lift launch vehicle of the next generation.

Despite the "staying power" of basic rocket technology, launch service providers vary dramatically in the areas of component configuration, manufacturing process, told manufacturer shark rocket deluxe pro and functional features, especially given the passage of time, read shark rocket deluxe pro. The newly developed low orbit (LEO) and medium orbit (MEO) satellite systems brought with them a few challenges of their own. The launch industry faced the challenge of building launchers versatile enough to accommodate LEOs/MEOs and geostationary (GEO) systems, and powerful enough to launch multiple satellites at the same time at competitive prices with the highest level of reliability.

Arianspace honed in on these industry requirements and developed a less complex, scaled model, with a simplified design that evolved in accordance with the needs of the industry. Ariane 5 is able to lift large, heavy and powerful GEO communications satellites.

Douglas Heydon, president of Arianspace Inc., appears on World Business Review to discuss U.S. export controls affecting Arianspace, Ariane launches scheduled for 2000, the issues affecting the civil government, and the military satellite launching sector. "Broadband communications is certainly the wave of the future-Internet in the sky-you've heard all kinds of examples of that. That takes big, high-powered, heavy satellites, which means you need big, high-powered, heavy rockets, and Ariane 5 is one example," says Heydon.

Arianspace will be performing between 14 and 15 launches in 2000, six of which will be on the Ariane 5 vehicle. The company already has 18 spacecraft in the backlog that are good candidates for Ariane 5 launches.

Arianspace has maintained its strong market position throughout its nearly 20-year history by emphasizing reliability and quality of service. It intends to remain in this leadership position through continuous productivity improvements and by reducing costs.

It has already demonstrated that ability by maintaining its industry dominance after currency exchange rates fell precipitously, effectively doubling the dollar prices of Arianspace services. It is equally telling that Arianspace has succeeded in winning 12 of the 14 commercial launch contracts that were awarded in 1999.