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Safran signs MoU with Terran Orbital

June 27, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Terran Orbital has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with rocket builder Safran to supply Terran’s electric satellite propulsion systems for Safran’s US customers. The MoU was signed at the recent Paris Air Show.

The agreement covers what the pair describe is to “study and validate the prerequisites for production of a new generation of electric propulsion systems for satellites in the US, based on Safran’s PPSX00 plasma thruster.”

Safran is perhaps better known as the manufacturer of aircraft and in particular the engines for the giant Ariane rockets. It was formed by a merger between SNECMA and the defense electronics specialist SAGEM in 2005. Safran has a global presence, with 83 000 employees.

The site location under consideration is a Terran Orbital facility in Irvine, California, which produces microsatellites. In addition to providing the American space industry with a local source of satellite thrusters, contributing to the economy and employment, this new line will match Safran’s production facilities in France, eventually doubling the company’s international production capacity.

Jean-Marie Bétermier, SVP/Space at Safran Electronics & Defense, saidL “Our alliance with Terran Orbital will contribute to the emergence of a complementary source of supply for electric propulsion systems to meet the growing needs of the space industry.”

“This deal reflects Safran Electronics & Defense’s faith in the value of Terran Orbital’s industry-leading products and innovative personnel, while adding to our strategic investments to create more scalable, automated, vertically integrated production systems,” added Marc Bell, Terran Orbital’s CEO and Chairman. “Terran Orbital looks forward to working with Safran Electronics & Defense to create top-of-the-line propulsion systems that make spacecraft more resilient and maneuverable at faster delivery rates and lower costs for our national security and commercial customers.”

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