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Thales Alenia Space’s Innovation Cluster wins best practices award

Toulouse, November 20th, 2019 – Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), is proud to announce that its Innovation Cluster has won an “Innovation Team Best Practices 2019 Award” from the Club de Paris des Directeurs d’Innovation, the association of innovation heads from a number of French companies in the CAC40 stock market index. The company’s Innovation Cluster won this award in the Innovation Management and Strategies category.

Innovation catalyzer and accelerator

Created in 2014, the Thales Alenia Space Innovation Cluster is designed to foster the emergence of disruptive concepts at all levels, whether technical, industrial or commercial, and to encourage employees to take the initiative. The Cluster is an integral part of Thales Alenia Space’s transformation strategy, focused on enhancing the in-house innovation culture and stimulating intrapreneurship and creativity. This network supports and funds innovative, value-generating projects submitted by employees from all areas of the company, to nurture a fertile environment that supports the development of disruptive concepts. Providing a complementary fit with the company’s R&D department, the Innovation Cluster spans all Thales Alenia Space entities. It is a highly agile structure, able to simultaneously provide financial and other resources for chosen projects, and quickly validate solutions that address market requirements, while offering disruptive technologies and novel development paths to customers.

Tangible results



Several FabLabs have already been created at Thales Alenia Space within the scope of the Innovation Cluster, along with a series of “Hackathons”, dubbed #HelloSpace. These are in-house team competitions, organized in conjunction with all Thales Alenia Space sites. They are designed to stimulate the innovation culture and foster the emergence of initiatives, concepts and procedures that will accelerate the development of disruptive projects within the company. For instance, during the first #Hellospace hackathon in 2015, the company’s Turin plant came up with a concept dubbed PIUME. Drawing on Thales Alenia Space’s proven expertise in crewed spaceflight and orbital infrastructures for the International Space Station, PIUME is an array of modules designed for use in extreme and hostile environments, including mountains, deserts, the arctic regions and of course space! It could be used for polar and desert bases, military forward observer posts, gas and oil rigs, etc. In short, PIUME is an ideal survival solution for isolated or hostile zones.



The Innovation Cluster was originally created in response to a project involving the design of a multi-spot telecommunications solution that would use specific bandwidths for dedicated government applications. This innovation-based approach proved to be the difference-maker in winning the contract for Bangabandhu Satellite-1, a satellite program that will considerably reduce the digital divide in Bangladesh. This solution could also be chosen for another government telecom program in the near future.



Thales Alenia Space recently unveiled its brand-new line of communications satellites, Space Inspire, an all-digital solution that can also be reconfigured in orbit. Several years, ago, the Innovation Cluster teamed up with the R&D department to design a standard product line, nicknamed “mini-geo” at the time, featuring very compact satellites. When the new line of Space Inspire communications satellites began to take shape, engineers chose a compact design derived from the mini-geo approach. Since then this product line has undergone a number of iterations and was also made all-digital to address the current expectations of leading telecom operators.

“We are very proud of winning this award for the Innovation Cluster, which recognizes our five years of constant effort to bolster the innovation culture within our company,” said Cédric Balty, Vice President for Innovation and Business Intelligence at Thales Alenia Space. “An integral part of Thales Alenia Space’s strategy, the Cluster capitalizes on the proven talent of its members to accelerate the development of disruptive projects, which herald the renewal of the European space industry.”

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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 2.5 billion euros in 2018 and has 8,000 employees in nine countries.



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