• Contract covering 2013-2014 valued at 195 million euros and confirms Airbus Defence and Space’s leading role in the operation and exploitation of the International Space Station (ISS)
• Follow on contract represents nearly 10 years of successful collaboration between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space in the operation of the ISS
• Continuation of Airbus Defence and Space’s role as the lead industrial partner for the European components of the ISS, including astronauts’ training
Bremen, 16 December 2013 – Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the operation and exploitation of the European components of the International Space Station (ISS) as lead industrial partner.
The contract covers the period 2013-2014 and is valued at 195 million euros, including 44 million euros for the procurement of spare parts and the development of solutions to maintain and improve the functional aspects of the European Columbus space laboratory. This contract forms part of the long-term service agreement between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space for the planned service life of the ISS, through to 2020.
Airbus Defence and Space has been managing all activities related to the operation of the ISS’s European components on behalf of ESA for nearly 10 years. Airbus Defence and Space’s responsibilities include astronaut training for the European components of the space station as well as maintenance, spare parts procurement and the logistics necessary to support the continued operation of the Columbus space laboratory. German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is scheduled to fly out to the ISS in May 2014 for a six-month mission. To prepare for his work aboard the space station, he too has been trained by Airbus Defence and Space instructors.
Other forms of support provided by Airbus Defence and Space include developing solutions to improve the functional aspects of the laboratory and helping scientists to design new experimental payloads. Data transfer, communication systems and ground station maintenance are also among the services provided by Airbus Defence and Space under the contract.
“Together with our industrial partners, we have made considerable efforts to reduce costs, while maintaining the accustomed high level of service, one of the requirements of our contract with ESA. As a result, we will be able to meet the target of reducing costs by 30 per cent in 2014, rather than in 2016 as originally planned,” says Bart Reijnen, head of Orbital Systems and Space Exploration at Airbus Defence and Space. “Airbus Defence and Space has more than three decades of experience in human spaceflight. The services we provide are tailored to our customer’s needs and implemented in collaboration with our industrial partners.”
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 10 European countries participating in the International Space Station programme.
In its capacity as prime contractor for the Columbus space laboratory and many of its 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.
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 10 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.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Together, pioneering excellence
Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the second in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.
In 2012, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.
Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Airbus Defence and Space, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Airbus Defence and Space, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.
Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.
Effective from January 1, 2014, Airbus Defence and Space will be integrated into Airbus Defence and Space together with Airbus Military and Cassidian.
Jeremy Close Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872