Airbus Defence and Space

Manned Space Missions Press releases

Airbus Defence and Space will continue to manage the ISS on behalf of ESA

• Contract valued at €240 million for the period 2011/2012

• Airbus Defence and Space leads industrial consortium responsible for providing all services related to the European components of the International Space Station

• Airbus Defence and Space’s responsibilities include mission control, astronaut training, maintenance and logistics, developments for new space experiments, ground station operations, communication systems and data transfer

Bremen, 13 December 2011 – The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space, 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 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.

“This project has been a total success for us,” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “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 Airbus Defence and Space, 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, Airbus Defence and Space 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, 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.


About Airbus Defence and Space

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

In 2010, Airbus Defence and Space 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 Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space 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.

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


Press contacts:

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                       Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                    Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41