Businesses throughout the satellite industry performed admirably in the tough economic conditions of 2011. Many executives worked to push their company higher, and the following six stood out to be nominees for one of the industry’s most prestigious individual awards.
Jean–Yves Le Gall, Chairman, CEO, Arianespace
Launch industry veteran Arianespace, under the direction of chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, has always relied on trust — the consistency of its success — to foster confidence in its workhorse Ariane 5 launcher.
Arianespace had a positive year financially. The operator is expected to reach sales of around $1.3 billion and will likely finish 2011 back into black, a key achievement amongst all of the announcements of new contracts.
In 2011, Le Gall led a coordinated and successful effort to expand its portfolio beyond Ariane 5. In October, Arianespace completed the first launch of its own modified Soyuz from the European Spaceport in French Guiana — the culmination of a decade-long development and planning phase.
Arianespace and its partners added a new digital control system that incorporates both a digital computer and inertial measurement unit, which aims to improve the rocket’s navigation accuracy and control capability. The Soyuz’ first stage is composed of four RD-107A engine boosters that are liquid oxygen- and kerosene-powered — the same propellants used on each of the Soyuz’ three main stages.
Le Gall’s team believed that the market would continue to develop as new technology became available and in response, focused efforts on keeping pace with a variety of launchers. The Soyuz and Vega gave the company more exposure to customers with smaller satellites and its two successful Soyuz launches in 2011 only helped to promote that primary strength of trust and reliability.
Beyond the new, Arianespace continued to enjoy success through Ariane 5’s completed missions and new customer contracts. The September launch of the Arabsat-5C and SES-2 satellites, which includes the Air Force’s CHIRP hosted payload on SES-2, was Arianespace’s 46th consecutive successful Ariane 5 flight. Arianespace’s 2011 launch contract tally includes new service and multi-launch deals with O3b, NewSat, DirecTV Latin America, Optus, Hispasat, Telenor, ABS, Arsat (Argentina), SES and GlobalStar.
Le Gall’s company’s performance not only brings evolution to its own business, but to the entire launch sector.