Thales Alenia Space successfully delivers a key element for European Space Agency’s Exomars 2020 mission

The Inertial Measurement Unit will enable the Rover’s navigation on Mars

 

Bristol, 27th September, 2018.  Thales Alenia Space in the UK achieves the major milestone of delivering its IMU Flight Models to Airbus Defence and Space in UK for integration with the ExoMars Rover. Exomars is a project under international cooperation between ESA (European Space Agency) and Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency), Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %) is the prime contractor for the global program.

The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) designed by Thales Alenia Space in the UK has been delivered for integration in to the ExoMars Rover mission, scheduled to launch in July 2020 and arrive at Mars nine months later.  The ExoMars Rover will be the first to drill 2 meters down the red planet’s surface, to look for traces of past or present life and retrieve samples.  The IMU enables the Rover’s navigation during its mission, providing critical data on its orientation, speed and direction.

 

Rover_2020 - Thalesgroup

© Thales Alenia Space/Master Image Programmes.

 

Designed, built and tested in Thales Alenia Space’s advanced facilities in Bristol, UK, these next generation IMU’s utilise a new modular concept that provides 3 axis orientation, angular rate, velocity and acceleration measurement.  The technology development incorporates very high performance Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMs) which have been qualified for spaceflight,  the technology is also being advanced by Thales Alenia Space for use in satellite constellations and geostationary satellite communications.

 

News of the delivery was enthusiastically received by Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, who said: “It is great to see innovative UK technology being delivered on time for ExoMars with UK industry working well together.  This realisation will help position the UK for future work on navigation systems for other exploration and robotics missions.”

Whilst Van Odedra, ExoMars Rover Project Manager for Airbus Defence and Space added: “Congratulations to the Thales Alenia Space UK team for achieving this important delivery for the rover. Please extend our thanks to all the team for their hard work and dedication to achieve this milestone.”

 

More about the industrial consortium:
On the 2020 mission, Thales Alenia Space in Italy,  is in charge of the design, development and verification of the entire system, the development of the Carrier Module navigation and guidance system and perform EDL/GNC development, the Rover System, including the Analytical Laboratory Drawer (ALD) as well as supplying basic parts of the DM, including the Radar Altimeter. In addition, Thales Alenia Space in Italy implements a deep technical partnership with Lavochkin for the development of the Descent Module (DM). OHB is in charge to develop the CM as well as ALD SPDS Mechanism and delegated tasks, the Rover Vehicle itself is provided by Airbus Defence and Space in UK. Leonardo is developing the ExoMars 2020 drill, which will dig into the Mars subsoil at a depth of two metres  and ALTEC – Aerospace Logistics Technology Engineering, a Thales Alenia Space in Italy (63.75%) and ASI (36.25%) company – will also be responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the ROCC (Rover Operation Control Center) and for controlling the Rover on the Martian surface.

 

More about the Exomars 2020 mission
The chronology can be summarized as follows: Launch from Baikonur, cruise to Mars through a direct ballistic trajectory, separate the CM from DM, entry into the Martian atmosphere and the subsequent descent and landing of the Descent Module and its Rover, weighing approximately 2 metric tons; the arrival of a landing platform and egress of the rover; exploration by the rover of a vast area of Mars, with geological/scientific sampling of both the planet’s surface and subsoil, by taking and analyzing soil samples to a depth of 2 meters; search for present or past forms of life in the soil samples that will be processed on the spacecraft; geochemical and atmospheric studies of the surface and underground environments.

 

About Thales Alenia Space
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of 2.6 billion euros in 2017 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries. www.thalesaleniaspace.com
 

Thales Alenia Space – Press Contacts:

Sandrine Bielecki    
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94    
sandrine.bielecki@thalesaleniaspace.com

Chrystelle Dugimont
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 74 06
chrystelle.dugimont@thalesaleniaspace.com

Cinzia Marcanio    
Tel: +39 (0)6 41 51 26 85             
cinzia.marcanio@thalesaleniaspace.com