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Looking at the numbers, 2006 was a successful year for Arianespace - thanks to a growing commercial satellite market right here in the United States. The company's "workhorse" Ariane 5 launched 10 telecommunications satellites this year - of which seven were built by U.S. manufacturers and 3 were orbited for American-based operators.

The company said its work load for the year was further strengthened with the 12 payloads it signed - one of which is for a new U.S. customer and another for an Asian satellite to be built here in the U.S. of A.

According to the company, four of the U.S.-built payloads orbited on Ariane 5 this year were constructed by California-based Space Sytems/Loral: DIRECTV 9S, Satmex 6 for Mexico's SatelitesMexicanos; SPAINSAT for Spain's HISDESAT; and WildBlue-1. Ariane 5 also shot the Lockheed Martin-built AMC-18 satellite for SES Americom, Japan's JCSAT-10 for the JSAT Corporation (built in the States) and Australia's Optus D1 built by Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Arianespace also welcomed a new U.S. operator to its worldwide customer base in 2006, signing a contract with TerreStar Networks to orbit the company's TerreStar-1 satellite. The TerreStar-1 platform currently is under construction by Space Systems/Loral and will offer up to 500 spotbeams in a next-generation integrated mobile satellite and terrestrial communications network. TerreStar Networks' contract with Arianespace also includes options for two additional Ariane 5 launch vehicles.

www.SkyReport.com - used with permission
 
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