ALTEC (Thales Alenia Space 63,75% and ASI 36,25%) and Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), today signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the management of the ground segment and the operations of the Space Rider mission.
Space Rider is an unmanned spacecraft with about 600 kg of load capacity capable of carrying out scientific and technological experiments in microgravity conditions, in an orbit at about 400 km in height. At the end of the mission it will return safely to Earth, thus guaranteeing full recovery of the load. The reusable vehicle will be built by an industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and by AVIO, and will consist of two main elements: the AVUM Orbital Module ( AOM) and the Re-entry Module (RM). The unit built with the development contract will be able to support a minimum of 5 missions, in addition to the inaugural launch.
The missions, lasting a minimum of 2 months, will be launched from the European spaceport of Kourou, in French Guiana, aboard the VEGA-C carrier, and will end with an autonomous landing.
As part of the Space Rider mission, ALTEC and Telespazio will be responsible for managing the entire ground segment and subsequent mission operations and will act as Co-Prime, in an integrated manner.
ALTEC will be responsible for managing the scientific and technological experiments on board the vehicle during the nominal mission phase, and will be responsible for managing the mission phase relating to the non-destructive atmospheric reentry of the vehicle.
Telespazio is responsible for the development, integration and validation of the VCC-OC (Vehicle Control Center-Operations Control) and for the development, validation and execution of flight operations, both for the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) and for the "routine" phase. Furthermore, Telespazio will be responsible for the construction and management of the Ground Stations Network.
All flight operations will be managed by the Fucino Space Center. From here, Telespazio will control the re-entry phase of the AVUM Orbital Module. while ALTEC will be responsible for the re-entry and landing phases of the Re-entry Module (RM), which will be followed by the VCC-LC (Vehicle Control Center-Landing Control), an integral part of the vehicle control center and hosted at its own space center in Turin. The same center will also house the Payload Ground Control Center, or PGCC, from which ALTEC will manage the experiments during the orbital phase of the mission.
“This contract is the culmination of the efforts that my colleagues and the whole company have developed over the years, on various programs, in different fields and sectors. It fully summarizes what the company is today: a cohesive group of people who are enthusiastic and passionate about their work, who with energy and professionalism have allowed ALTEC to have the international recognition it enjoys today. It is with this same spirit that we are preparing to face this new, exciting adventure, together with Telespazio and with the support of the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, aware of the difficulties but at the same time certain of the success that Space Rider will be able to achieve. internationally ", declared Vincenzo Giorgio, CEO of ALTEC.
“Telespazio is proud to contribute to the development of a highly innovative European space program, strongly desired by the Italian Space Agency, and which will be implemented by the main companies in the national aerospace sector. The strategic value of a vehicle like the Space Rider is to give Europe access to space in low orbit. The signing of the contract, which sees us in partnership with ALTEC, rewards the company's consolidated experience in the field of space operations and the implementation of the ground segment of important international missions and programs ", declared Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo's Space Activities and Chief Executive Officer of Telespazio.
Space Rider represents the evolution of the IXV mission, successfully performed on February 11, 2015, with a suborbital flight departing from Kourou and ending with the recovery of the space plane after a landing in the Pacific Ocean. As part of the industrial team of the IXV mission, led by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, ALTEC was responsible for the ground segment and the mission control center, hosted at its Turin headquarters.