CHARLEROI, Belgium --- Thales Alenia Space Belgium announced today that it has signed a contract with Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), prime contractor for the Ariane 6 launcher on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA), to particpate in development of the range safety system for Ariane 6, including a qualification launch.
The new Ariane 6 launcher was approved by ESA's ministerial-level council meeting in December 2014 to ensure that Europe retains its leadership in the fast-growing commercial launch services market, while continuing to address European requirements for government missions. Two versions of this launch vehicle are planned: Ariane 6.2, with two strap-on solid boosters, mainly intended for government satellites; and Ariane 6.4, with four strap-on boosters, capable of dual launches and mainly intended for commercial payloads. The first launch of Ariane 6 is planned for 2020.
The main function of the range safety system is to neutralize the launcher if its trajectory endangers people or property. The system's core comprises electronic units that are fully designed and built by Thales Alenia Space Belgium. These core units will be used in conjunction with other components, shared by the Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz launchers, to form the entire range safety system.
This latest contract confirms the European space industry's confidence in Thales Alenia Space Belgium, an equipment supplier for the entire family of Ariane launchers (Ariane 1 to 6) for more than 40 years.
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 2014, and has 7,500 employees in eight countries.
Thales Alenia Space Belgium is the leading Belgian manufacturer of space electronics and the global leader in electrical power supply systems for satellites. Its products have been chosen for nearly 200 space programs, including half of the electronics on the Ariane 5 launcher and the range safety systems for Soyuz and Ariane 6. The company has over 700 employees at plants in Mont-sur-Marchienne (Charleroi) and Leuven.