Thales Alenia Space received “Gold Medal” at the 2014 IPMA Awards for the management of the prestigious space science program Herschel-Planck!

Cannes, October 1st, 2014 – Thales Alenia Space is proud to announce that the Herschel-Planck program won the gold medal award at the 28th world congress of the IPMA* (International Project Management Association), during the official awards ceremony that took place yesterday in Rotterdam. As prime contractor of the dual Herschel-Planck mission for the European Space Agency (ESA), Thales Alenia Space was competing in the "Mega-Sized Projects" category, the most important of the three IPMA categories. The IPMA organizes this global competition recognizing the efficiency and excellence of project management in all industry sectors. Moreover, Jean Michel Reix, Herschel Planck project manager for Thales Alenia Space was awarded “Silver Medal” in the “Manager of the Year” category.

Launched back on May 14, 2009, the two satellites in the joint Herschel-Planck mission were part of one of the most complex scientific projects ever carried out in Europe. The Planck satellite's impressive achievement was to take "photos" of the Universe as it was just 380,000 years after the Big Bang, some 13.8 billion years ago, so that we can better understand how it was formed, plus the phenomena underlying matter and black energy. The Herschel spacecraft enabled scientists to analyze and better understand the life of stars, galaxies and other large structures in the Universe. Exceeding their expected lifespans, the two high-tech jewels Herschel and Planck provided huge volumes of data for scientific and astronomic research, and it will take many more years to process all this data.

The IPMA award is the latest international distinction for Herschel-Plank, and clear recognition for Thales Alenia Space's program team. IPMA's evaluation focuses on the project management per se, the results achieved by the program team and industry partners, how all those involved were able to capitalize on their experience, and above all the innovative approaches to project management. In this case, Thales Alenia Space managed an industry consortium comprising more than 100 companies and laboratories from around the world.

Before making their decision, the IPMA assessors visited Thales Alenia Space's Cannes plant in July, to speak directly with the main actors in the program, the customer (ESA) and the main partners, as well as the heads of the different company entities involved in constructing the spacecraft and managing the program (program and production departments, satellite AIT, finance, Quality, purchasing, etc.). They also interviewed several scientists who were the recipients of this data. In other words, a panoramic evaluation which clearly established Herschel-Planck as the outstanding program in its category.

* IPMA is a Worldwide 55 member association on 6 continents

About Thales Alenia Space:

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), is a key European player in space telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, exploration and orbital infrastructures. Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio form the two parent companies' “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Because of its unrivaled expertise in dual (civil/military) missions, constellations, flexible payloads, altimetry, meteorology and high-resolution optical and radar instruments, Thales Alenia Space is the natural partner to countries that want to expand their space program. The company posted consolidated revenues in excess of 2 billion euros in 2013, and has 7,500 employees in six countries.

Thales Alenia Space Press Contacts:

Sandrine Bielecki    
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94

Tarik Lahlou    
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 68 45


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Sandrine Bielecki
+33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
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