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Airbus Defence and Space will continue to manage the ISS

Airbus Defence and Space to manage the European components of the ISS

The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space 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 Airbus Defence and Space, 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 Airbus Defence and Space 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. Airbus Defence and Space 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.

In its role as prime contractor for the provision of services to users of the European components of the ISS, Airbus Defence and Space 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, Airbus Defence and Space has made significant contributions to the International Space Station. Now that they have been integrated in the ISS, Airbus Defence and Space 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.

 

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