KOUROU, French Guiana (AP) — Arianespace and one of the world's top space technology companies have signed a contract for 18 new rockets that will be launched starting in 2017.

The deal with Paris-based Astrium for more than $2.7 billion worth of Ariane 5 rockets was signed Saturday at Arianespace's complex in French Guiana. Ariane 5 rockets have been used to help launch satellites and resupply spacecraft.

Arianespace is the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency.