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70th Ariane 5 launch Safran contributes from nose to tail


Paris - An Ariane 5 ECA rocket was successfully launched yesterday from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, placing into geostationary transfer orbit the Alphasat telecommunications satellite, the first based on the new Alphabus platform developed by Astrium Satellites and Thales Alenia Space, with support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and French Space Agency CNES. This successful launch represents a real technological achievement for the European space industry, and also for Safran, which contributed to all launcher stages.

The Alphabus platform, designed for high-power payloads, called on Safran’s key technologies. The Group supplied:

* Four Snecma PPS®1350 plasma thrusters to ensure North-South stationkeeping in geostationary. The PPS®1350 generates 9 grams of thrust with electrical power of 1500W. This plasma propulsion technology offers more operational flexibility than conventional chemical propulsion systems, along with considerable weight savings (up to 25%) because of its far more efficient use of propellants.
* Sagem’s inertial reference system based on hemispherical resonator gyros (GRH) for orbital control. This is the only technology capable of guaranteeing several decades of uninterrupted, failsafe operation in the demanding space environment (vacuum, heavy ionizing radiation, including in bursts).
* Propellant and helium filters.

For the 70th Ariane 5 launch, Safran also contributed the key systems and equipment that it always supplies for this launch vehicle: the boosters (which provide most of the thrust needed for liftoff) via Europropulsion, a 50/50 joint company of Safran and Avio, the Vulcain 2 cryogenic engine for the main stage, the HM7 cryogenic engine for the upper stage, the pressure sensors that provide data needed to guide the launcher and satellites, wiring, and the pyromechanisms used to separate the stages and release the satellites from the launcher.


Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Group has 62,500 employees and generated sales of 13.6 billion euros in 2012. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of 1.6 billion Euros in 2012. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index.

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