Ibadan, 17 May 2023. – Thales Alenia Space has won a €235 million contract from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to design, develop and qualify a spacecraft for a dedicated In-Orbit Servicing (IOS) demonstration mission. To implement the contract, Thales Alenia Space is leading a Temporary Grouping of Companies regrouping Leonardo, Telespazio, Avio, and D-Orbit.
The consortium will develop the mission in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) framework, with support from the Italian Space Agency. Furthermore, the demonstration mission will operate in low Earth orbit (LEO) and tentatively launch by 2026. Recall that Thales Alenia Space recently led another consortium to win an ASI contract to develop the Space Factory 4.0 program in the same National Recovery and Resilience Plan frame.
“We are glad that the Italian Space Agency chose the team of Thales Alenia Space, Leonardo, Telespazio, Avio, and D-Orbit to carry out this ambitious project that will make space more sustainable,” said Massimo Claudio Comparini, Senior Executive Vice President, Observation, Exploration, and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space.
“This mission reflects the skills and experience of established players in complex space projects, together with the more agile approach from emerging space companies. By working together, they will generate synergies that ensure the future viability of the space sector while also developing all-Italian technologies to support the growth of the country’s space industry.”
The demonstration mission will test enabling technologies for future in-orbit servicing missions by performing a wide range of robotic operations on satellites already in orbit: refueling, component repair or replacement, orbital transfer, and atmospheric reentry. In Orbit Servicing vehicles represent a paradigm shift by introducing system scalability and flexibility through in-orbit maintenance and upgrade possibilities.