Launch Services Alliance

Launch Services Alliance (LSA) is an alliance between the Arianespace and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. LSA is back-up launch provider in case one of the partners wouldn't be able to execute launch on time another would provide an alternative service. The group offers this service for Arianespace’ Ariane 5 and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Launch Services’ H-IIA expendable launch systems.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Launch Services (MHI Launch Services) as well as Arianespace can offer jointly launch services in case a launch vehicle is unable to perform a launch mission. Launches are executed with either MHI's H-IIA launch vehicle from the the largest launch facility in Japan , the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), or with the Arianespace’ Ariane 5 rocket using the Kourou Space Center in French Guyana.

Launch schedules are duly guaranteed, risks are reduced, and customer business plans are less likely to be interrupted by technical problems. The MHI H-IIA and Ariane 5 launch vehicles have the highest launch success rates in the commercial satellite market.

History of Launch Services Alliance

LSA was originally created in July 2003 from an initiative of Arianespace with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Boeing Launch Services (BLS), Boeing providing Sea Launch Zenit-3SL (when it was still in operation). Their arrangement is roughly comparable to the airline industry's 'code-share' agreements, where passengers buy a single ticket that can provide service on the routes of several partner airlines.

With the Launch Services Alliance, mission assurance becomes a reality as customers have the ability to fly on three of the world's finest launch systems: Arianespace's Ariane 5, the Sea Launch vehicle from Boeing Launch Services, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' H-IIA. An agreement with the Alliance enables customers to seamlessly transition among these launch platforms for maximum flexibility to ensure delivery to orbit when they want it.

The Alliance's three members continue to retain their marketing autonomy, allowing customers to make the final decision whether they wish to gain access to a much broader set of solutions to orbit than would otherwise be available in today's market.

Watch the MHI Launch Services promotion video!

The successful launch of DIRECTV 7S by Sea Launch in 2004 was the first mission performed within the Launch Services Alliance framework. DIRECTV 7S originally was to have been orbited by Arianespace at the end of 2003, which created a scheduling conflict with the Ariane 5's Rosetta scientific mission. Using the Launch Services Alliance's flexibility, DIRECTV 7S was transferred from Ariane 5's manifest to a Sea Launch vehicle, and the spacecraft was lofted on May 4th, 2004.

In May 2004, the Australian satellite operator Optus (Singtel Optus) became the first customer to sign a new launch order incorporating an alternate back-up launch vehicle with the Launch Services Alliance. This order with Arianespace called for the Optus D1 and D2 payloads to be orbited by Ariane and Soyuz launchers in 2005 and 2007, respectively.

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