MHI, Arianespace boost space launch cooperation

June 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM

TOKYO, June 7 (UPI) -- Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Arianespace S.A. of France will collaborate on commercial space rocket launches.

A Memorandum of Understanding to implement joint proposals on space launches was signed in Tokyo and witnessed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting French President Francois Hollande.

Under the accord, the two companies will explore creating new launch services and standardization of satellite preparation tasks at launch sites as a follow-up to previous collaborations, which date from the 1990s.

The two companies previously formed a "launch services alliance" and the new agreement will advance that partnering, they said.

"MHI is very proud to conclude this memorandum with Arianespace, a company that boasts a greater than 50 percent share of the global commercial launch market," said MHI Chairman Hideaki Omiya. "We are confident that by cooperating with Arianespace we will be able to provide customers with more attractive services of higher value.

"Relations between France and MHI span many different areas, and with this latest development we look forward to the further strengthening or our ties." 

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