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Thales Alenia wins space tug contract

May 16, 2023

By Chris Forrester

The Thales Alenia Space consortium has been awarded a significant €235 million contract from Italy’s Space Agency to design and build an in-orbit satellite servicing craft, or space tug, to enter service in 2026.

The object is to use the new craft to refuel an orbiting satellite.

The new contract follows on from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe research programme. The contract sits alongside Europe’s Robotic Orbital Support Services In-Orbit Demonstration (EROSS IOD) mission which is also targeting a launch date of 2026.

The EROSS contract has a number of partners including GMV of Spain and France’s Exotrail as well as Germany’s Aerospace Centre (DLR).

In a press statement, Cannes-based Thales Alenia Space said the consortium will use its “multidisciplinary expertise spanning from launchers, satellite infrastructure, robotics, sensing, artificial intelligence and atmospheric reentry systems.”

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