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N° 48–1996: ESA council meeting- 17/18 December 1996

18 December 1996

At this meeting, the ESA Council agreed an overall concept to meet the additional expenditure required to complete qualification of the Ariane-5 launcher, covering the continuation of work leading to the Ariane 502 and 503 launches in July and November 1997 (see joint ESA/CNES press release dated 17 December).

Mr Jean-Marie Luton, ESA Director General, announced that he would not be seeking reappointment after his second term of office, which expires on 30 September 1998.

Council, while regretting this decision, reaffirmed its full support for Mr Luton in the important duties he still had to carry out over the coming two years.

For Ariane-5, given the timescale and with the agreement of the contractors, the additional expenditure is now estimated at 313 MECU. It is being funded by a combination of:


  • reallocation of funding previously set aside under the various Ariane-5 programmes (development, ARTA*, evolution, infrastructure), totalling 124 MECU,


  • a special effort from the contractors and income expected from a commercial payload on the 502 flight, totalling 84 MECU,


  • fresh contributions from the States participating in the Ariane-5 development programme, totalling 105 MECU.

Arianespace, the European company which will be producing and marketing the Ariane-5 launcher after qualification, has taken, with the European contractors, the measures necessary to maintain the continuity and excellence of the launch service during the transition from Ariane-4 to Ariane-5.

Following the endorsement in Toulouse in October 1995 of complementary programmes to accompany and consolidate Ariane-5 during its operational lifetime, this Council decision to fully qualify Ariane-5 confirms Europe's resolve to ensure continuous access to space using this entirely new launcher, destined to replace Ariane-4 around the turn of the century.

* Ariane Research & Technology Accompaniment