SPACE SYSTEMS/LORAL has booked a total of five satellite launches with Arianespace in a deal which could be worth over $400 million by the year 2000. It is the first block booking by a satellite manufacturer with the European launcher organisation.

The first launch is scheduled for 1998 - the other four are classed as options. The agreement gives Loral "guaranteed launch-services availablity during a period of very high market demand", says Arianespace.

The Loral satellites will be launched primarily by Ariane 5 boosters, the first of which makes its European Space Agency-funded maiden flight on 25 May.

Satellite rival Hughes has, meanwhile, made block-booking reservations for ten launches each on the McDonnell Douglas Delta 3 and Boeing-led Sea Launch system.

Source: Flight International