Launch vehicles


For almost 40 years, Safran has continuously shaped the future through contributions to succeeding versions of the Ariane launcher. We have always strived to give our customers propulsion solutions that set the standard in terms of cost and performance: up to 10,700 kilos into GTO, orbiting at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (about 22,500 miles). Satellites are now indispensable for a wide range of applications, whether commercial (telecommunications, television, Internet access, etc.), scientific (space exploration, Earth observation, resource management, etc.), dual application (geolocation) or defense (surveillance, etc.).

Today, ArianeGroup (the 50/50 joint company between Airbus Group and Safran) is prime contractor for Europe's Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 lauchers, with responsibility for design, production and marketing of launch service, via its subsidiary Arianespace. ArianeGroup also makes the missiles for France's ocean-going nuclear deterrent force. Ariane 5 is the most reliable launcher in the world, which has successfully completed more than 80 missions. ArianeGroup is recognized worldwide for the quality of its space equipment and propulsion systems.

ArianeGroup has notably developed expertise in the complementary technologies needed to develop both cryogenic propulsion systems, using very-low-temperature liquid hydrogen and oxygen, and solid propulsion systems and associated energetic materials. ArianeGroup makes the Vulcain®2 engine for the cryogenic main stage (EPC) used on all versions of Ariane 5, the HM7B engine for the cryogenic upper stage on the Ariane 5 ECA version, and all associated stage equipment.

3.3 million pounds of thrust

Between the Vulcain cryogenic engine and the solid boosters, ArianeGroup gives Ariane 5 over 3 million pounds lift-off thrust. The launcher market today is increasingly competitive, so Safran is developing new- generation solutions. For instance, the Vinci® upper-stage cryogenic engine can be restarted in flight, greatly extending the mission versatility of tomorrow's Ariane launchers. Moreover, Safran's SpaceNaute navigation system was chosen for new Ariane 6 launch vehicle.

Through our subsidiary Europropulsion (jointly owned with Avio of Italy), ArianeGroup makes the MPS solid rocket motors for the boosters on Ariane 5, which supply 90% of the launcher's lift-off thrust. Europropulsion also makes the solid rocket motor for the P80 first stage of Europe's new-generation light launcher, Vega. In addition, through our subsidiary Pyroalliance, we supply pyrotechnic ignition systems for the Ariane and Vega launchers, as well as Brazil's VLS.


ArianeGroup50/50 joint company dedicated to launch vehicles, created by Safran and Airbus Group. ArianeGroup is one of the world's leading manufacturers of rocket engines. It is also a world leader in the design, development and production of solid rocket motors for launchers, with unrivalled experience and expertise in energetic materials and thermostructural composites for space.

Safran Aero Boosters: the company makes modules and components for rocket engines.

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