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Thales Alenia Space chosen to build Athena-Fidus, the French-Italian dual telecommunications system

10 February 2010

First telecom satellite partnership for European defence and security

Cannes, February 10, 2010 - Thales Alenia Space announced today that it has signed a contract with the French and Italian space agencies, CNES and ASI, to develop, construct, test and deliver in orbit a broadband civil and military telecommunications satellite, Athena-Fidus.

The Athena-Fidus programme (Access on theatres for European allied forces nations-French Italian dual use satellite) includes a geostationary satellite operating in the Ka and EHF bands, and its associated ground control segment. It will employ the highest-performance civil communications standards, DVB-RCS and DBV-S2, to enhance transmission capacity and service availability. The satellite will be used by the French and Italian ministries of defence, as well as civil security agencies in these countries, including homeland security, police and fire departments. Furthermore, Athena-Fidus will complement the capabilities already offered by the Syracuse and Sicral systems.

The Athena-Fidus and Sicral-2 programmes are the first European cooperative successes in the Milsatcom domain and pave the way for tomorrow’s “Europe of Defence”; Thales Alenia Space is also a major partner in the Sicral-2 programme. According to Reynald Seznec, Thales Alenia Space President and CEO: “These partnerships enable the countries to share the fixed costs for the platform, launch service and ground segment, while addressing their specific needs via dedicated payloads.”

Based on a Spacebus 4000 B2 platform, the Athena-Fidus satellite will weigh over three metric tons at launch, and has a design life exceeding 15 years. It will carry two payloads, one each for France and Italy. The satellite should be launched in 2013 by Arianespace.

Reynald Seznec added: “Our collaboration with Telespazio, via the Space Alliance, was a critical factor in our selection. We were able to combine the top skills in each country, in particular the industrial expertise of Thales Alenia Space and the service expertise of Telespazio.”

French Space Agency CNES is managing the programme in France, while the Italian space agency ASI is responsible for the programme in Italy.

About Thales Alenia Space
The 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 achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2008 and has a total of 7,200 employees located in 11 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Thales Alenia Space Press Contacts
Florence Pontieux - Tel: +33 (0)1 57 77 91 26

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

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