Contract signed to take Orbital Recovery Ltd's. CX OLEV into
Arianespace signed a
contract today at the Berlin Air Show to launch a promising new
spacecraft: Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s CX OLEV™ (ConeXpress
Orbital Life Extension Vehicle), which will be used as a space
The contract covers the first launch of a CX OLEV™ in
2007, followed by four other missions beginning in 2008. The order
also includes provisions for options on follow-on missions in
These launch services
will be provided by Ariane 5 on flights performed from the
Spaceport in French Guiana.
The ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle will be carried as
a secondary payload on Ariane 5, and will have a mass at liftoff of
approximately 1,200-1,400 kg.
Operating as an orbital "tugboat," the CX OLEV is being
developed by European industry to extend the lifetime of in-orbit
telecommunications satellites by 10 years or more. It also is
capable of rescuing satellites that have been placed in incorrect
"Ariane's mission flexibility was one of the key factors in our
decision to make it the exclusive launch system for CX OLEV," said
Phil Braden, Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s Chief Executive Officer. "We
are pleased to be part of the Ariane 5 manifest, which includes
some of the world's leading satellite payloads."
Taking an original
approach to spacecraft design, Orbital Recovery Ltd. has based its
CX OLEV on the payload adapter that is used on every Ariane 5
mission. This allows flight-proven hardware to serve as the CX OLEV
structure, and opens regular launch opportunities for the space tug
on Ariane 5.
The CX OLEV is shaped like a truncated cone, and it will
continue to serve as a payload adapter for Ariane 5 missions - with
the launcher's primary satellite payload mounted atop it. After the
primary payload has been released, the CX OLEV will be deployed
from the launcher to begin its own mission as an independent space
"It is a real pleasure to work with companies that offer
innovative solutions, and we are proud to be able to provide our
launch services for the CX OLEV system," Arianespace Chief
Executive Officer Jean-Yves Le Gall added. "Our experience in
handling multi-satellite payloads, combined with Ariane's
performance, will enable the launcher to be ready when needed to
serve Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s mission requirements."