[Satnews] Earlier this month, Thales Alenia Space inaugurated their new Séléné building in Cannes, for which construction was started in October of 2014.
This production facility, intended for the integration and testing of optical observation instruments, complements the existing facilities in Cannes dedicated to optical observation programs, and will help develop the export market for high-resolution systems, in addition to work on current contracts. This building is the last facet of the Odyssée program, which kicked off in 2008 to expand the Cannes production site to surrounding land made available by the city of Cannes, which signed an emphyteutic (long-term) lease with Thales Alenia Space.
Thales Alenia Space is applying a new approach to the optimal use of floorspace in this divisible building, which has a footprint of 1,500 square meters, including up to four separate integration zones to handle four satellites at the same time. The building features stringently controlled clean rooms, an airlock entrance, control rooms and machine rooms. One of the clean rooms spans 300 square meters and is Class ISO 5 (Class 100, or less than 100 particles no larger than 0.5 µm per cubic foot—compared with a human hair, which is 40 to 50 mµ in diameter); the other is 500 square meters and Class ISO 8 (Class 100,000). These rooms house the optical test bench assembly and thermal chamber used to measure optical performance without outside disturbances, such as air turbulence, vibrations, etc.
Satellite export sales, especially optical observation models, are a strategic part of Thales Alenia Space's business development objectives. This fast-growing market is being driven by an increasing number of countries that want to acquire their own systems capable of independently providing them with high-precision intelligence photos. Through this 8 million euro investment, plus the introduction of the new Earth Observer Optical product line, Thales Alenia Space, already a leader in the very-high-resolution optical observation market, will be able to bolster its export capability thanks to increased industrial facilities, unrivaled in Europe.