Thales Alenia Space: en route for the Red Planet!
Following the excitement of the Curiosity rover, Thales Alenia Space is now prime contractor on the ExoMars mission, which aims to study the Martian environment, atmosphere and soil. This mission will generate a mother lode of data, feeding researchers for many years to come.
ExoMars: 1 program, 2 missions, in 2016 and 2018
ExoMars is a 50/50 joint program between ESA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for the two missions in this program, set for launch in 2016 and 2018.
For the 2016 mission, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of designing the reentry module and designing and integrating the orbital module.
On the 2018 mission, the French-Italian joint venture is in charge of developing the navigation and guidance system for the orbital and descent modules, as well as designing the Martian rover and building the analysis lab carried by the rover. This lab features a perforator, capable of drilling two meters deep into the Martian soil and removing samples.
The first mission will be launched in early 2016 and the second in the spring of 2018. Each spacecraft will take about nine months for the trip from Earth to Mars.
Venus, Mars, Titan, asteroids and comets… Thales Alenia Space has always been a pivotal partner in Europe's fantastic missions to the Solar System.
Like ExoMars, Thales Alenia Space was also prime contractor for Herschel and Planck, the two largest space observatories ever built in Europe. We also developed and integrated Corot, the French exoplanet hunter, and made 25 parabolic antennas as part of Europe's contribution to the ALMA program in Chile. Thales Alenia Space has always played an integral role in these hugely successful science and exploration programs. We also played a lead role in the recent Rosetta-Philae comet landing mission, in particular taking charge of the assembly, integration and testing of the Rosetta probe. In 2015, Thales Alenia Space is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Cassini-Huygens mission, including the landing on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, by the Huygens probe, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. Our next scientific challenge is the European program Euclid, designed to help further our understanding of dark matter.