Thales Alenia Space has led the satellite industry pack at this year's Paris air show with order announcements, amid a throng of deals for both manufacturers and launchers.

The Franco-Italian joint venture announced contracts for repeater equipment for the Russian Federal Space Agency's Loutch-5A and -5B satellites and payload provision for satellite operator Arabsat's 4,800kg Arabsat-5A and 5,400kg Arabsat-5B spacecraft, while its chief executive Pascale Sourisse signed the previously declared €229 million ($307 million) deal with the European Space Agency for the first Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme spacecraft, the 2,200kg (4,840lb) Sentinel-1.

The two Arabsat spacecraft will use EADS Astrium Eurostar E3000 platforms and are to be launched by Arianespace and Krunichev Space Center Proton rocket provider International Launch Services (ILS), both of whom claimed launch order leadership with six launches this year each.

But Arianespace chief executive Jean-Yves Le Gall also announced a framework contract with operator SES covering 2009 to 2013 and a launch deal for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting's 3,000kg Spacebus 4000B2 platform-based THOR 6 spacecraft, scheduled to be in orbit in about 24 months time.

Le Gall is also chief executive of Samara Space Center Soyuz 2 rocket provider Starsem, which is to launch ESA's Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element (GIOVE)-B spacecraft.

GIOVE-B prime contractor Thales Alenia Space says: "[The] GIOVE-B satellite will be completely assembled and tested in the coming weeks in our facility in Rome".

The spacecraft failed a test last year delaying its Starsem Soyuz launch from the end of 2006 to this December.

Meanwhile ESA director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain and NASA administrator Michael Griffin signed agreements for their joint James Webb Telescope, to be launched in 2013 by an Arianespace Ariane 5 for a five-year mission, and ESA's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Pathfinder mission that is to detect gravity waves from 2010. NASA is providing LISA's Disturbance Reduction System Package.

Last week Lockheed Martin announced that its first Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, using its A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft platform, was ready for system level environmental and acceptance testing in preparation for its mid-2008 launch.

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