In a world that is increasingly fast moving, unpredictable – and full of opportunities, trust is essential for societies to flourish. Trust in our institutions. Trust in our systems. Trust in technology. Trust in each other. And the people we all rely on to make the world go round, they rely on Thales. They come to us with big ambitions: To make life better, to keep us safer.
From the bottom of the oceans to the depths of space and cyberspace, we help our customers navigate uncertainty with confidence and new frontiers with optimism. Thinking smarter and acting faster – mastering ever greater complexity and every decisive moment along the way.
Every year, Thales invests 1 billion euros in self-funded research and development, and more than 28,000 Thales employees are directly involved in the fields of research and technology. Their extensive expertise enables us to develop exceptional and powerful technical solutions to meet the challenges of today's society – to build a future we can all trust.
Tube technology for today and tomorrow
Through its high quality components for use on board of satellites for telecommunications and multimedia applications as well as in radar systems or air-frames, Thales has earned the trust of renowned customers and achieved market leadership in this area. As of today, we have produced more than 13,000 travelling wave tubes for space applications. The total operating time of the tubes in this harsh environment is more than 600 million hours. The system solutions are produced at our factory in Ulm. Travelling wave tubes from Thales are used on board most of today’s news, television and earth surveillance as well as scientific satellites. In addition, our other highlights in the scientific field include high performance klystrons for fusion reactors and particle accelerators as well as signal sources and image processing systems for radiology applications. For these applications, the division has the advantage of being able to draw upon other proven technologies and products the group has produced. Thales is also a partner in the European Galileo navigation satellite programme, and is involved in associated security-relevant applications, tests and validations.
HEMPT - a new technology for satellite electric propulsion
First conceptualized in the late 90’s at Thales Ulm, HEMPT is a new technology for satellite electric propulsion derived from the Traveling-Wave-Tubes. MIS has developed the HEMPT 3050 thruster for a German GEO satellite H2sat and has fully qualified in 2018 and is now delivering the last units to customers.
This first product market is only station keeping for small GEO satellites. However, between our HEMPT 3050 development and today, the EP market mutated a lot, shifting from GEO to LEO especially because it became the baseline for telecommunication constellations (Oneweb, SpaceX, Amazon) of several hundreds of satellites. This new market is totally driven by cost and requires a strong industrial backbone from its suppliers to produce those hundreds of thrusters in a short amount of time.
Following the success of its first product development and the unique benefits of the HEMPT propulsion system, Thales MIS decided to develop a new thruster for constellations, EV0, and was selected by different spaces agencies (ESA, DLR) and the European Commission to get funding.
EV0 is a small, cost effective, thruster, with a good performance allowing it to be seen by leading satellite manufacturers as a baseline for its propulsion system and raising a strong interest from constellation start-ups. With EV0, MIS is a serious contender in the constellation market, and we already delivered several offers and are under negotiation for our first commercial contract for a constellation in LEO.
In addition to EV0, we continue to develop our product portfolio with our EV1 medium power thruster in order to answer the second generation of constellation needs as well as to diversify ourselves with high value markets such as exploration or in-orbit robotics. During the summer 2020, our 1st EV1 prototype showed very promising results which should allow us to enter those new markets in the coming years.