Thales Alenia Space France
Member since: 1981
Thales Alenia Space is a joint subsidiary of Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), and a partner in the Space Alliance along with Telespazio. The company has 7,500 employees in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany and United States, and posted total revenues of 2.1 billion euros in 2011.
Thales Alenia Space has more than 40 years of experience in the design, integration, testing, operation and commissioning of innovative space systems. Featuring cutting-edge technologies, these systems meet the needs of commercial, government, scientific, defense and security customers from around the world. The satellites and payloads designed by Thales Alenia Space set the global standard for space systems that provide communications and navigation services, monitor our environment and the oceans, help us better understand climate change and drive scientific progress.
Thales Alenia Space is also a leading supplier to the International Space Station, and a pivotal player in space systems designed to explore the Universe.
Communications. Thales Alenia Space is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of communications satellites, platforms and payloads, which account for 50% of its business, offering a complete range of solutions, from high-performance components to turnkey systems. The Spacebus family of geostationary platforms meets the needs of operators from around the world, and the payloads have proven their performance, reliability and competitiveness on satellites made by all leading manufacturers. Navigation systems, constellations. Thales Alenia Space is the world leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) commercial constellations, with more than 150 satellites ordered for the Iridium NEXT, Globalstar Second Generation and O3b systems. Its expertise reaches back to the 1990s, when being the leading contributor to the first-generation Globalstar system, delivering a total of 72 satellites. Thales Alenia Space has always been at the forefront of geolocation solutions in Europe, being the prime contractor for Egnos, in charge of producing this navigation overlay system. Thales Alenia Space is a key partner for Galileo, providing the system and the Ground Mission Segment (GMS). Weather and environmental monitoring. Thales Alenia Space has been the prime contractor for European weather satellites for more than three decades. After delivering seven first-generation Meteosat and four Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, Thales Alenia Space was selected for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) program, comprising four imaging and two atmospheric sounding satellites. The company also provides today’s most powerful and sensitive atmospheric instruments, the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), for the MetOp satellites. Its work on Earth observation systems also continues, with the production of the Sentinel 1 and 3 satellites for operational environmental monitoring as part of Europe’s GMES program – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security.
Climate change. Thales Alenia Space plays a major role in studying our planet’s climate to improve our understanding of the underlying factors, in particular by using the cutting-edge technologies that have revolutionized oceanography. Thales Alenia Space is indeed the world leader in space altimetry, since the French-American Topex-Poseidon mission and, until now, with Jason satellites, CryoSat for the European Space Agency, GFO-2 for the US Navy and the French-Chinese mission CFOsat. ESA has been able to carry out a number of exceptional scientific missions by calling on Thales Alenia Space, including the MERIS imaging spectrometer on the Envisat satellite, to reveal the oceans’ secrets and colors; GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Explorer), to provide a precise map of Earth’s gravitational field; and SMOS, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite.
Defense and security. Thales Alenia Space is a strategic supplier of military satellite communications systems in Europe, as prime contractor for three generations of the Syracuse system in France and two generations of its Italian counterpart Sicral, and space segment prime for the German system Satcom BW. The company also produced dual communications (civil/military) payloads for Turkey, Brazil and South Korea. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for the Italian radar satellite constellation Cosmo-SkyMed, and supplied radars for the German SAR-Lupe system and Kompsat 5 in South Korea. Furthermore, our high-performance optical instruments are the key to the French observation systems Helios, Pleiades and CSO, as well as the Göktürk 1 satellite for Turkey, delivered as a turnkey system. Science and exploration. To Venus, Mars, Titan, asteroids and comets… Thales Alenia Space has always been a pivotal partner in Europe’s missions to explore our Solar System. For instance, we have integrated orbiters, produced sub-surface radars, and above all we designed the Huygens probe, a world first, which explored the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Thales Alenia Space is also prime contractor for ExoMars, ESA’s most ambitious Mars mission, and for Herschel and Planck, the largest space observatories ever built in Europe. In addition, we developed Corot, the French “exoplanet” hunter, and we are working on the Alma radiotelescope array in Chile.
Orbital infrastructure and space transport. Thales Alenia Space has supplied fully half of the pressurized volume of the International Space Station, including Nodes 2 and 3, the Multipurpose Pressurized Logistics Modules (MPLM), the Cupola and the structure for the Columbus laboratory, as well as the Integrated Cargo Carriers (ICC) for the ATV spacecraft that ferry supplies to the Space Station. Thales Alenia Space also makes the Pressurized Cargo Modules (PCM) for the Cygnus resupply vessel, in partnership with Orbital Sciences, and is gearing up for future programs as prime contractor for ESA’s IXV and Expert reentry demonstrators.
Advanced electronics from Thales Alenia Space represents about half of the avionics used on the Ariane 5 launcher. In addition, the company is the only European subcontractor on the Russian Soyuz launchers now being operated from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, as supplier of the European safety kit.