Space Inspiration

Ready for a private tour of an ArianeGroup site? 11-19-2021 |  3 minutes


The book “Des étoiles plein les yeux” (Stars in your eyes) takes you behind the scenes at ArianeGroup’s site in Les Mureaux


Many space enthusiasts have always dreamt of visiting our facilities. Well, “Des étoiles plein les yeux” by Alexandre Léoty and Arnaud Späni makes that dream come true. This truly fantastic book, just like ArianeGroup’s products, and the great many exclusive pictures it contains, will give you new insight into the history, operations and production processes in use at our site near Paris.

@Alexandre Léoty and @Arnaud Späni – Cover page of the second edition of Des étoiles plein les yeux.



The historical site in Les Mureaux, built in 1912, has witnessed two world wars and several industrial revolutions. It therefore boasts more than a century of activity and numerous programs, from sky to stars, since it was originally chosen as one of the birthplaces of French aviation, for geographical and meteorological reasons (seaplanes can easily “land” on the Seine).

The site moved into the space age in 1965 when the Les Mureaux engineering teams began working on the ambitious “Diamant” project, France’s very first rocket and the first launcher outside the USA and the former Soviet Union.

@Alexandre Léoty and @Arnaud Späni – Second edition of Des étoiles plein les yeux 


The pace quickened in the 1970s with the ESA launch of the Ariane program for which the site designed and produced the first and third stages. The geostrategic advantage again allowed France’s famous river adjoining the site to be used to ship the launcher’s components, and those of its successors, to the European Spaceport of Kourou, in French Guiana.

Through the pages, readers can thus relive the site’s history and explore the 92 hectares of this mini town within the town, from the innovative industrial facilities to the more recent, 22,000-sq. m Ariane 6 site where the horizontal integration of the new European launcher’s main stage will take place. 

@Alexandre Léoty and @Arnaud Späni – Second edition of Des étoiles plein les yeux 


From pyrotechnics to additive manufacturing and composites, the book also highlights all the expert production skills that are often specialities of the site and paint a glowing picture of French and European know-how. Other less well-known activities are also featured, such as project management and launcher qualification. As the saying goes, it takes a whole village to perform these operations.

@Alexandre Léoty and @Arnaud Späni – Second edition of Des étoiles plein les yeux 


Naturally, as people are central to space activities at ArianeGroup, the book also gives pride of place to the teams. Their testimonials enhance the narrative with their passion and pride in contributing to the development and production of high-tech products. They are all keen to give their very best to this ongoing European space adventure.

We strongly recommend this great book featuring meticulous journalistic work and some unpublished pictures. We hope it will put stars in your eyes too. 

“Des étoiles plein les yeux” by Alexandre Léoty, with photographs by Arnaud Späni, is published by Editions Privat (in French with English translation).