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European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen visits Thales Alenia Space plant in Rome

Press releases

European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen visits Thales Alenia Space plant in Rome

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    Rome, January 15, 2015 – Jyrki Katainen, the Vice President of the European Commission, as well as European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investments and Competitiveness, visited the Thales Alenia Space plant in Rome today.

    After being welcomed by Thales Alenia Space Italia’s President and CEO, Elisio Giacomo Prette, Mr. Katainen visited the company’s Antenna and Equipment Development Center, a state-of-the-art laboratory where satellite antennas are integrated and tested by highly specialized staff.

    In particular, Mr. Katainen got a close-up look at the production line where some of the antennas for the first 22 FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites in the European navigation system Galileo are now being integrated and tested.

    “Thales Alenia Space is an excellent example of a European enterprise that puts its expertise at the service of the EU's major infrastructure projects," said Katainen. "Companies like this could well represent a significant contribution to motivate European investments in strategic sectors based on high technology, research and innovation, as well as an instrument to spur the resumption of economic growth in Europe.”

    Thales Alenia Space is a lead partner on Galileo, contributing to the design of the overall system architecture since the outset. For the current FOC phase, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the System Support activities, needed by the European Space Agency in his role of Galileo System responsible, as well as of the design and development of the Ground Mission Segment (GMS) and of several key subsystems in the Space Segment. Thales Alenia Space also was responsible for the assembly, integration and testing of the Giove-B satellite and of four IOV (In Orbit Validation) satellites, in Rome.

    In addition to the four IOV satellites, ESA has already ordered 22 FOC satellites on behalf of the European Commission, and a new tender is expected in the near future for additional satellites needed for the constellation.

    Another European project that was discussed during the visit is Copernicus, the vast Earth observation program conducted by ESA in partnership with the European Commission. The main goal of this program is to guarantee Europe's independence in the acquisition and management of data on the state of the planet. Thales Alenia Space, as prime contractor, is responsible for the design, development, integration and testing of the satellites for the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3 missions.

    About Thales Alenia Space

    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 2013, and has 7,500 employees in six countries.

    Thales Alenia Space Press Contacts:

    Sandrine Bielecki, Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94,

    Chrystelle Dugimont, Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 74 06,

    Tiziana Ebano, Tel: +39 06 4151 2574,