23 March 2012
Cannes, March 22, 2012 – On Thursday, March 22, Thales Alenia Space welcomed to its Cannes plant Laurent Wauquiez, the French Minister for Higher Education and Research. He was accompanied on his visit to the plant by Bernard Brochand, Deputy Mayor of Cannes, Yannick d'Escatha, President of French space agency CNES and Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. Mr. Wauquiez was visiting the region to present French space strategy. Speaking at Cannes city hall, he emphasized the importance of challenges facing industry in today's economic environment.
He first visited Thales Alenia Space's facilities. The company is a world leader in a wide range of space markets, including telecommunications, navigation, meteorology, environmental management, defense, Earth observation and science, and is also the leading private sector employer on the French Riviera. During their visit, the ministerial delegation could observe first-hand the specific qualities of this high-tech facility, which offers satellite test and integration facilities unrivaled in Europe – more than 13,500 square meters of Class 100,000 clean rooms, including a single space spanning 8,700 square meters for satellite assembly and testing. Cannes also produces the most powerful optical instruments in Europe, namely Pleiades and CSO for very-highresolution Earth observation, as well as the IASA (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer), renowned for its accuracy in analyzing the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The instruments are assembled in a 600 square meter clean room which is Class 100 – an extreme level of cleanliness comparable to that used by the pharmaceutical industry.
Laurent Wauquiez congratulated Thales Alenia Space for its position as the world leader in satellite constellations, as shown by contracts for O3B, Globalstar and Iridium NEXT. He was also able to visit the integration rooms where the W6A, W3D and Yamal 402 geostationary communications satellites were being integrated.
During the visit, Thales Alenia Space was also able to spotlight its lead role on Meteosat. Counting on its 7,200 employees, Thales Alenia Space is the world leader in (geostationary) weather satellites such as Meteosat since 1977. After building the seven first-generation Meteosat satellites as prime contractor, the company was selected in the mid-1990s to deliver four Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites. The third MSG is now slated for a June 19 launch from Kourou, French Guiana. Most recently Thales Alenia Space was also selected to supply the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG), comprising six satellites: four imaging models and two atmospheric sounders. "Space is at the heart of national and international strategic decisions because the sector has become indispensable in our daily lives and also protects the security of all citizens," said Thales Alenia Space President and CEO Reynald Seznec. "Also, space is a growth sector for employment, and has significant leverage in terms of economic spinoffs."
About Thales Alenia Space
The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ “Space Alliance”. Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecommunications, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With consolidated revenues of 2.1 billion euros in 2011, Thales Alenia Space has 7,200 employees at 9 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium.
Thales Alenia Space Press Contact
Sandrine Bielecki - Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
Tarik Lahlou - Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 68 45