Arianespace SA is a French multinational company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial launch service provider. It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane programme. The main launch vehicles offered by the company are the Ariane 5, the Soyuz-2 as a medium-lift alternative, and the Vega as a lighter one.
As of 2008, more than 240 commercial launches have occurred since May 22, 1984. Arianespace states that the total number of launch contracts signed since Ariane launches commenced operations in 1984 is 285. Arianespace uses the Centre Spatial Guyanais inFrench Guiana as a launch site. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France, near Évry.
On 21 October 2011 Arianespace launched the first Soyuz rocket ever from outside former Soviet territory. The payload was twoGalileo navigation satellites.