Aerospace and logistics company Thales and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced an agreement on Friday to develop the automated reusable spacecraft valued at around $ 202.3 million.
According to a press release from the company, Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) and AVIO, as co-contractors, have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the automated reusable Space Rider transport system. Developed for the use of the new Vega C Light Launcher in low earth orbit (LEO).
As noted by Thales, Space Rider is Europe’s solution for its own affordable and reusable end-to-end integrated space transportation system for unmanned missions as well as routine entry and return from low orbit. It is used to carry a wide variety of payloads at various heights and inclines in Earth Orbit (LEO).
Designed as a free-flying orbital platform, Space Rider can remain in orbit for two months, safely return to the atmosphere and land on the ground with an accuracy of 150 meters. It can be salvaged, renovated and reused for up to six missions along with its payload.
Thales Alenia Space leads a consortium of European manufacturers, research centers and universities and is responsible for the development of the re-entry module (RM), which is the main challenge of the project, derived from the Italian-made IXV experimental space shuttle with strong support from was the Italian space agency ASI and tested in 2015. AVIO is responsible for the propulsion system and the consumables service module. Space Rider is launched aboard the Vega C Launcher, which was developed by AVIO for the European Space Agency.
“Space Rider will pave the way for Europe to be more accessible and agile in using space in low orbit. The contract signed today shows once again Thales Alenia Space’s leading role in atmospheric re-entry systems, combining the capabilities of a free-flying satellite in orbital platforms with reusability and a crucial step of great technological value for the European space industry, “said Massimo Claudio Comparini , Senior Executive Vice President of Observation, Exploration and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space. “It will confirm that Thales Alenia Space has mastered all of the technology needed to further explore the Moon, Mars and beyond in the universe, and that the company is now ready to apply its expertise to future applications for point-to-point To extend flights. Space planes and even space tourism. This leadership from our Turin plant, coupled with the strong and determined support of the Italian institutions, puts the country at the forefront of the space economy and will fuel the enormous development potential of the space sector. “
“Space Rider is a unique system that extends the capabilities and uses of the Vega carrier during orbital mission activities that span time and when returning from space. From this platform many other applications are possible, e.g. B. In-orbit maintenance activities. We look forward to pursuing this fascinating future together with Thales Alenia Space and with the support of the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, ”said Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio.