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UK company selected to provide subsystem for ExoMars 2018 mission

31 January 2016

Thales Alenia Space-UK (TAS-UK) has been selected by the European Space agency to supply a propulsion subsystem for the ExoMars 2018 mission.

An artist's impression of Exomars rover, courtesy of ESA

This is the first contract for TAS-UK to deliver a propulsion subsystem for an ESA-led mission - an important step for the company which is building a Propulsion Centre at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. The Reaction Control Subsystem will be responsible for the attitude and trajectory manoeuvres of the Carrier Module which will deliver the ExoMars surface platform and rover to the Red Planet.

TAS-UK will be working alongside colleagues in Thales Alenia Space-France, who will assemble and test the RCS module, and 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.

ExoMars consists of two missions that fall under the European Space Agency’s Aurora programme. The 2016 orbiter mission will carry scientific instruments to detect and study atmospheric trace gases, such as methane. ExoMars 2018 will deliver the rover which will examine the geological environment on Mars and search for evidence of environments that may have once, and perhaps could still, support life.

TAS-UK’s ExoMars contract 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.

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