Home >> News: January 18th, 2016 >> Story
Satnews Daily
January 18th, 2016

ESA's ExoMars 2018 Mission Brings Thales Alenia Space-UK Into The Project

[Satnews] Thales Alenia Space-UK has been selected to supply a crucial subsystem, the Reaction Control Subsystem, for the Carrier Module of the ExoMars 2018 mission.

The ExoMars 2018 mission is part of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Program in Cooperation with ROSCOMOS (the Russian Space Agency). Thales Alenia Space Italy is the Prime Contractor of the ESA industrial team. The mission will deliver a European Rover and a Russian surface platform to the Martian surface to perform exploration of the planet’s subsurface and atmosphere, and to search for signs of life.

The Rover and surface platform arrive at Mars inside the Russian Descent Module, which  is delivered to the Red Planet by the Carrier Module spacecraft. Thales Alenia Space-UK will be responsible for the Reaction Control Subsystem (RCS) in the Carrier Module, performing the design and engineering activities.

A mono-propellant propulsion subsystem will be developed and it constitutes a critical part of the mission; it is required for implementing attitude  and trajectory maneuvers of the Carrier Module spacecraft to ensure it reaches its target precisely, allowing the Descent Module to be delivered accurately to the Red Planet.

Thales Alenia Space-UK will be working alongside Thales Alenia Space-France, who will assemble and test the RCS module, and  customer, OHB, who are leading the development and integration of the Carrier Module. The engineering efforts will be achieved in close cooperation between the companies in order to develop the system inside an aggressive timescale to meet the mission launch window.

This is the first contract for Thales Alenia Space-UK to deliver a propulsion subsystem for an ESA-led mission and is an important step for the company, who are building a Propulsion Centre at the established Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, UK. This program complements existing engineering activities already occurring within TAS-UK, which include Electric Propulsion and Chemical propulsion activities as part of Thales Alenia Space’s NEOSAT contract with ESA, which is working to design the next generation of European Telecommunications Satellites.