• 18.12.2019
  • Space
  • Media release

European launcher Ariane and RUAG Space celebrate 40th anniversary

The first launch of an Ariane rocket took place 40 years ago. RUAG Space looks back on a successful cooperation and 250 missions. ...

40 years ago, on 24 December 1979, an Ariane rocket launched into space for the first time. To date, a total of 250 Ariane launches have taken place from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana and more than 450 satellites have been launched into orbit. This is not only a European success story, but also one for RUAG Space: from the very first launch, products from the space company like the payload fairing have been used for the launch vehicle. "We have been contributing to the success of the Ariane launch vehicle for 40 years, 250 launches and more than 1000 weeks of work on the launch site in Kourou in French Guiana. We are very proud of this cooperation", says Peter Guggenbach, CEO RUAG Space.

Payload fairing production using modern processes

The 17 meter (56 feet) high payload fairing from RUAG Space makes up about one third of the launcher. The payload fairing reduces air resistance in the atmosphere during flight and protects the payload from frictional heat. Since 2017 the payload fairings have been produced using the Out-of-Autoclave process. The half-shells are baked in a more energy-efficient industrial oven, which, thanks to its size, can harden in one piece, which saves time and costs.

In addition to the payload fairing, RUAG Space's family of payload adapters, which connects the satellites to the launch vechicle, have also been on board over the years. The payload adapters are produced at the company site in Linköping, Sweden. Also provided by RUAG is the the on-board computer of the Ariane launch vechicles. The so-called brain, is produced at the site in Gothenburg, Sweden, and controls the European launch vehicle.

Payload fairing for new launcher Ariane 6

RUAG Space has so far produced 250 payload fairings, 381 on-board computers, 264 antennas and 282 payload adapters for the European Launcher. RUAG Space will continue to supply the payload fairings produced in Emmen, Switzerland, for the Ariane 6 launch vehicle. In addition, also other products, such as a new family of Payload Adapters produced in Linköping Sweden and the high-temperature insulation for the Ariane 6 launch vechicle engines, produced in Austria, are coming from RUAG Space. "We are delighted that our products are also being used for the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle. This confirms the high quality of our products and the performance of our engineers", Peter Guggenbach continued.

About RUAG Space

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, with a growing presence in the United States. With more than 1,300 staff across six countries, it develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market.

RUAG Space is a division of the international technology Group RUAG. RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace and defense for use on land, in the air and in space. RUAG generates sales of approximately CHF 2 billion and has over 9,100 employees – 400 of whom are trainees.


Christian Thalmayr
Vice President Communications a.i.

E: christian.thalmayr@ruag.com
T: +43 1 801 99 2165

Tatjana Milinkovic
Country Communications Manager

E: tatjana.milinkovic@ruag.com
T: +41 79 317 57 83

Web: www.ruag.com/space
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruagspace