Arianespace Collection

The first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace, emerged in 1980. Based near Paris, France, this company maintains and operates Ariane Launch Vehicles which are used by various companies worldwide. On November 2, 1981, the company signed the first commercial contract with GTE Spacenet. Arianespace works closely with both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French Space Agency (CNES). ESA directs the entire program, while CNES develops the launch vehicles, and Arianespace produces, markets, and launches the finished product. As of 1995, almost 100 satellites were placed into orbit by Arianespace. Arianespace is currently still producing Ariane 5 launchers and conducting launch services from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.