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Astrium will continue to manage the ISS on behalf of ESA

Bremen, 13 December 2011

    - Contract valued at €240 million for the period 2011/2012
    - Astrium leads industrial consortium responsible for providing all services related to the European components of the International Space Station
    - Astrium’s responsibilities include mission control, astronaut training, maintenance and logistics, developments for new space experiments, ground station operations, communication systems and data transfer

The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Astrium, Europe’s number-one space company, to manage the continued operation and exploitation of the European components of the International Space Station (ISS) as the lead partner in an industrial consortium. The contract signed today between ESA and Astrium, covering the period 2011-2012, is valued at 240 million euros. It represents the first phase of a long-term service agreement between ESA and Astrium for the entire planned service life of the ISS, through to 2020.

The services included in the scope of the contract are divided into work packages. Astrium is the prime contractor for all services related to the operation of the European components of the ISS. These include mission preparation and delivery, astronaut training, developments for new experiments and research facilities, maintenance and logistics for all European ISS components and the associated ground stations, communications and data transfer.

“This project has been a total success for us,” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Astrium Space Transportation. “Since 2004, we have been applying the systems know-how and more especially our engineering experience to offer an end-to-end service to users of the ISS on behalf of ESA.”

He continued: “The direct involvement of industry in the operation of the space station and the long term commitment of the space agencies have allowed investments to be made, operations to be streamlined and costs to be drastically cut, and yet provide an improved service. Combined with our close collaboration with industrial partners and ESA, our ability to manage complex tasks enables us to offer appropriate solutions and tailored services.”

“In Astrium, ESA has found a reliable partner to serve as prime industrial contractor and consortium leader. The company is uniquely placed to manage the operation and exploitation of the International Space Station through its experience in manned orbital systems. By signing this initial contract today, Astrium has accepted the task of delivering services for the operation of the ISS during the period 2011/2012 for a fixed cost of €240 million,” said Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations, this Tuesday in Bremen. The two parties have also agreed to implement a series of measures over the next few years aiming to reduce the costs of the programme by some 30 per cent between now and 2016.

In its role as prime contractor for the provision of services to users of the European components of the ISS, Astrium leads a consortium consisting of some 40 industrial partners in the ten European countries participating in the International Space Station.

The Columbus space laboratory is Europe’s main contribution to the International Space Station. It provides facilities for carrying out experiments in numerous scientific disciplines under space conditions. Assembly of the ISS was completed in 2010, and for a minimum of another ten years it will now be devoted to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technological research, with an emphasis on physics, materials science, biology and medicine. Certain experiments are even conducted using instruments installed outside the Columbus module, such as sensors to measure the effects of intense solar radiation. To enable the space laboratory to fulfil its intended purpose, it is important that each series of experiments is precisely coordinated in order to obtain optimal results.

In its capacity as prime contractor for the Columbus space laboratory and its broad range of payloads, and for the ATV Automated Transfer Vehicle, Astrium has made significant contributions to the International Space Station. Now that they have been integrated in the ISS, Astrium continues to play a key role in their operation and exploitation. According to the present plans of the participating countries, the International Space Station will remain in operation until 2020, if not longer.

About Astrium

Astrium is the number one company in Europe and the third in the world for space technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.

In 2010, Astrium had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and Astrium Services for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.

Press contacts:
Jeremy Close
Media Relations UK
Astrium United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy
Astrium France
Media Relations France
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich
Media Relations Germany
Astrium Germany
Tel.: +49 89 60 73 39 71
Fax: +49 89 60 72 97 65

Francisco Lechon
Media Relations Spain
Astrium Spain
Tel.: +34 91 5 86 37 41
Fax: +34 91 5 86 37 82

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