The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a Contract Change Notice to Thales Alenia Space worth 98 million euros for the ExoMars mission to Mars. This latest contract covers the second extension of the mission’s Phase B2 (B2X2) and the second major segment of the program’s development to prepare the production phase (advanced C/D).
The contract extension will cover all program activities through March 2011, allowing the ExoMars industrial team to carry out the System PDR (Preliminary Design Review) in autumn 2010. It will also enable finalizing the preliminary design of the two missions, planned for 2016 and 2018, and the spacecraft modules for the next development and production phase, starting in April 2011. In addition, detailed design, procurement and testing can start for critical units.
“In addition to ensuring program continuity and making sure we stay on schedule, this contract extension will support continued work by the program’s subcontractors and help us minimize the development risks of such a new and complex mission,” said Vincenzo Giorgio, Director of Science Programs at Thales Alenia Space.
Carried out jointly with NASA, ExoMars is the first mission in ESA’s “Aurora” exploration program. ExoMars actually involves two different missions: the first, scheduled for 2016, will study the Martian atmosphere and demonstrate the feasibility of several key technologies for the entry, descent, and landing phases, vital for the future human exploration of Mars. It will also provide data relay for communications between Earth and the Martian rovers in subsequent missions. The second mission, in 2018, includes a European rover capable of moving autonomously, taking samples of the soil down to a depth of two meters and analyzing its chemical, physical, and biological properties.
Thales Alenia Space Italia is the industrial prime contractor for the ExoMars program, as well as being in charge of the design of the Entry Descent Demonstrator Module (EDM), the development of the Analytical Laboratory Drawer (ALD), which includes the Pasteur Payload instruments, its integration on the Rover, the onboard computer and the EDM’s radar altimeter. Thales Alenia Space France is responsible for the design and integration of the Orbiter module.
About Thales Alenia Space
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 telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company, which achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2009, has a total of 7,200 employees located in 9 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
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