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Thales Alenia space statement concerning Astra 5A

21 January 2009

Cannes, January 21 2009 - As announced on January 16, the Astra 5A satellite, formerly named Sirius 2 and operated by Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), experienced an abnormal event that led to a spacecraft attitude disturbance.

Astra 5A was launched on November 12, 1997 by an Ariane rocket, and uses a Spacebus 3000 platform fitted with 32 Ku-band transponders. It was designed for a minimum lifetime of 12 years.

The reconfiguration attempts which followed the incident could not restore the satellite into a stable sun-pointing attitude but consumed a significant amount of propellant and discharged the satellite's battery. This led SSC to declare the loss of the spacecraft's mission.

The root cause of the incident as well as its possible connection to an incident in October 2008 are currently under investigation by an Inquiry Board. The technical teams of Thales Alenia Space, SSC and SES are tracking the satellite and are working closely to initiate any possible safety actions.

About Thales Alenia Space
European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups' "Space Alliance". Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company has a total of 7,200 employees and 11 industrial sites, with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

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