In the Spotlight

Thales Alenia Space takes off for the 2024 Space Symposium

In the Spotlight

Thales Alenia Space takes off for the 2024 Space Symposium

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    From April 8 to 11, Thales Alenia Space will attend the 39th Space Symposium event in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the United States, to showcase its latest solutions in the fields of Space Exploration and Earth Observation, including science and orbital infrastructures.

    “Moonage Daydream”

    More than 50 years after the last mission of the Apollo program, the Moon is back, more meaningful than ever. In 2022, ARTEMIS I mission was a tremendous success. The image of the Earth captured by Orion capsule made us feel that our planet was both precious and fragile. The unmanned mission served to validate the proper functioning of the spacecraft. This mission prefigures Artemis II, scheduled for launch in 2025, with real astronauts on board. Artemis II will orbit the moon but will not land. It will be necessary to wait until 2026, with Artemis III, so that the Humanity can again walk on the Moon.

    Also, almost more than 40 years ago, our teams from Turin delivered their first pressurized module, the Spacelab vehicle, a reusable laboratory developed by ESA and used on certain spaceflights flown by the Space Shuttle. 40 years later, after delivering a major part of the International Space Station’s habitable volume, we are producing nearly 80% of Lunar Gateway’s pressurized volume.

    Back to the Moon to stay

    Concerning Lunar Gateway, we are supplying the Lunar View and Lunar I-HAB pressurized modules to ESA, and the pressurized structure (as well as critical subsystems) of HALO module to Northrop Grumman. A 40-metric-ton space station, Gateway will orbit around the Moon, as part of NASA’s ARTEMIS program aiming to bring astronauts back to the Moon for long-duration missions.


    ARTEMIS © Thales Alenia Space

    End of last year, the Italian Space Agency selected Thales Alenia Space to build a lunar Multi-Purpose Habitat that will be the first permanent outpost on the Moon. Based on domotic architecture and mobility capability, these habitats will ensure the availability of vital resources (water, power…) stored or generated on the Moon’s surface. These new infrastructures are intended to offer the crew the possibility of working in complete safety and living in a comfortable lunar environment.

    “Fly me to the Moon”

    The Moon is set to serve as a staging post and stepping stone for crewed deep-space missions, with Mars the next step on our journey. NASA has developed the Orion capsule with precisely these kinds of missions in mind. Our teams are supplying key components for the Orion spacecraft’s European Service Module, for which Airbus is the prime contractor. Teams in Turin are supplying the critical subsystems for the service modules, including the structure and protective “skin” to shield them from micrometeorite impacts, and the thermal control and fuel storage and distribution subsystems, all vital for the safety of the crew and mission.

    When space meets fashion

    Our Engineers are also working on the first 2 modules of the world's first commercial space station, Axiom.


    AXIOM © Axiom Space

    Our company provides Northrop Grumman with all the pressurized cargo modules for the Cygnus vessels ferrying supplies to the ISS twice every year — food, spare parts, propellant, science experiments, tools, personal items and more. These modules have insulation linings to protect them from the wild temperature swings in space. Fashion design house Pierre Cardin has drawn inspiration from these linings to create a magnificent “satellite dress” from the same material, that was spotlighted on our booth during form IAC and Paris AirShow exhibitions.



    Exploring the marvels of the solar system

    Thales Alenia Space has also contributed to numerous iconic space exploration missions across the solar system, including Cassini-Huygens (Saturn), BepiColombo (Mercury), ExoMars (Mars), Euclid to name a few. By examining billions of galaxies up to 10 billion light-years away, and covering more than a third of the sky, Euclid, successfully launched in July 2023, will unlock a wealth of knowledge that will shape our understanding of the cosmos. Last year, space aficionados were astonished by the first full-color images delivered by Euclid. A tremendous jewel of high technology, Euclid satellite will explore dark energy and dark matter to better understand the origin of the Universe’s accelerating expansion.



    “Is there Life on Mars?”

    In the near future, we will talk more and more about ESA’s ExoMars 2028 mission. While the Thales Alenia Space-built Trace Gas Orbiter is orbiting around Mars’ atmosphere, the second mission- including a carrier module, a landing module, a landing platform containing the rover- is designed to find traces of past or present life under the Martian soil. Leading this search is the Rosalind Franklin rover, which features the Analytical Laboratory Drawer. This is a sophisticated micro-laboratory capable of processing on-site the samples collected by the Leonardo-built drill that penetrates the Martian soil down to a depth of two meters. It can detect organic contaminates which could be considered “living matter”.

    exploring mars

    © Thales Alenia Space

    Safeguarding our planet from space

    How could we live in a world without Earth observation systems? For several decades now, Earth observation satellites—whether for oceanography, weather forecasting or environmental monitoring—are vitally important for citizens everywhere. The data they provide to the scientific community is delivering deeper insights into the climate mechanisms that govern our planet.

    Copernicus is the most ambitious environmental monitoring program in the world, with 12 families of “Sentinel” satellites surveying Earth, its topography, seas, lakes, oceans, and polar regions. It also encompasses climatology missions and programs measuring human-induced CO2 emissions or affording new applications to foster sustainable agriculture and biodiversity. A program of this scale is a key to Europe’s ability to better anticipate the consequences of global warming so that we can safeguard our planet. The satellites and ground segments are built by European prime contractors for the European Space Agency (ESA). Thales Alenia Space is a major contributor to 11 of the 12 missions in the European Commission’s program, Copernicus.

    Monitoring environment

    Did you know that 60% of the essential climate variables tracked by experts were provided by Earth observation satellites monitoring environment? Our teams can really be proud of the first images provided by MTG-I1 and SWOT, 2 space jewels launched in December 2022.

    MTG-I1 is part of the MTG program that will include 6 satellites: 4 imaging and 2 sounding ones. These satellites are set to revolutionize weather forecasting and significantly improve accuracy. The imaging satellites carry lightning detectors and the sounding models will map the atmosphere in 3D. MTG-I1 captured a tremendous first image of the Earth in May 2023. Two months later, Eumetsat and ESA unveiled the first results from Europe’s first lightning detector that were really impressive as well.


    MTG-I1 © Thales Alenia Space / ImagIN

    Like MTG-I1, SWOT satellite entered into service and delivered its first images in March 2024. A joint mission between CNES and NASA, SWOT will measure the elevation of nearly all the water on Earth’s surface and provide one of the most comprehensive surveys yet of our planet’s surface water. Lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans - 90% of the Earth's surface waters can be probed thanks to this high-tech jewel.


    SWOT © Thales Alenia Space / ImagIN

    Spearheading on-orbit servicing

    Are you familiar with On-Orbit Servicing space vehicles? On-orbit servicing spacecraft are truly “Swiss Army knives” capable of performing robotic tasks and rendezvousing in space.

    These will include repairs, maintenance, refueling, inspection and deorbiting of space debris. The goal is to extend satellites’ operational lifetime and thus limit the propagation of space debris—a disruptive approach to foster sustainable and eco-friendly space operations.

    on orbit servicing

    ON-ORBIT SERVICING © Thales Alenia Space_E.Briot

    Thales Alenia Space is the European leader in on-orbit servicing, a new approach to space based on smarter, more innovative missions that make space more sustainable, as reflected in Thales Alenia Space's “Space for Life” vision.

    Thales Alenia Space confirms its leadership in On-Orbit Servicing, following the contract signed with the European Commission in 2022 for the EROSS IOD program and the €235 million contract signed with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to design, develop and qualify a spacecraft for a dedicated In-Orbit Servicing demonstration mission set to be launched by 2026.

    New technologies to ensure states’ space sovereignty

    Defense or dual observation systems guarantee national sovereignty and security by generating invaluable data for border and maritime surveillance, intelligence, mapping and other critical functions. Dual observation systems are also highly useful during natural disasters, providing decision-makers with the vital information needed to quickly identify damaged areas and alert search & rescue organizations.


    K425 © Thales Alenia Space

    Thales Alenia Space has unrivaled expertise in very-high-performance observation systems calling on both optical and radar sensors. To name a few, we built two generations of COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites for the Italian space agency and defense ministry and we were chosen by South Korea to build four synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observation satellites. Through the LeoStella joint venture in the United States, we are also contributing to the BlackSky constellation, which will include dozens of optical observation satellites featuring submetric resolution and very high revisit rates. Thales Alenia Space has built on its longstanding legacy in high and very-high resolution optics to offer extremely competitive and high-performance Smart Telescope solutions. These telescopes are perfectly suited to the emerging market of spaceborne optical observation constellations featuring high revisit rates. At Colorado Springs, our experts will also focus on our radar-based solutions.

    Last year, our company was chosen by ESA to provide a first batch of 7 satellites - six small ones featuring synthetic aperture radars plus an optical one - dedicated to Italy’s innovative new Earth observation constellation, IRIDE.


    IRIDE © Thales Alenia Space / Master Images Programmes

    Our teams also launched a new Earth observation solution dubbed “ALL-IN-ONE”. This constellation of microsatellites combines the best of radar, optical and ground segment technologies to offer night and day and all-weather capabilities with high image quality, reliability and flexibility for near-real-time surveillance. Based on that offer, PT Len Industri relies on us to build a multi-satellite Earth observation system providing radar and optical imagery for the Indonesian Ministry of Defense.


    ALL-IN-ONE © Thales Alenia Space_E.Briot