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EADS Astrium : Europe’s largest space technology company

The company brings together a full rang

Issue 15

Astrium Satellites is a world leader in specialist satellite systems for civil and military telecommunications. Astrium Satellites also develops a variety of observational systems, capable of monitoring scientific phenomenon on both Earth and throughout the wider universe.

From a telecommunications perspective, Astrium Satellites offers its customers the necessary technologies to develop both civil and military mobile communications networks, direct-to-home television and radio capabilities and other dedicated broadcast applications. Astrium Satellites design, manufacture, launch and provide in-orbit and ground control on a variety of satellites and in recent years has enjoyed particular success with its Eurostar series of high-performance communication spacecraft, particularly its latest version E3000

In the field of Earth observation, Astrium Satellites designs and manufactures a wide range of highly adaptable spacecraft, complete with advanced optical and radar instruments as well as ground segment equipment aimed at enhancing our scientific understanding of Earth.

Astrium Space Transportation is Europe’s space transportation and manned space activity specialist. It designs, develops and produces Ariane launch vehicles as well as the Columbus laboratory and the ATV cargo re-supply spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS). Its activities also include atmospheric re-entry vehicles, propulsion systems, space equipment and missile systems for France’s nuclear deterrent force. Additionally, Astrium Space Transportation provides launch services through its shareholdings in Arianespace and Eurockot.

Astrium Space Transportation is committed to provide Europe’s access to space and to lay the groundwork for the next generation of launch vehicles. The next generation Ariane 5 ECA launcher was developed to meet the changing requirements in the commercial launch markets as satellites become larger and heavier. With the production batch of 30 Ariane 5s, Astrium Space Transportation became the sole prime contractor and is responsible for delivery of the complete, fully tested Ariane 5 to Arianespace, and manages all associated contracts.

Astrium Space Transportation is also the largest shareholder in the joint French-Russian Starsem Company, which markets the Russian-built Soyuz launcher. Another product of European-Russian cooperation is the Rockot launcher, which is operated by Eurockot Launch Services, a joint venture between EADS Astrium Space Transportation (51%) and the Khrunichev Space Centre. The company is also involved in the European small launcher programme Vega.


Astrium Space Transportation is currently leading an international team on the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) programme. The ATV ferries propellants, food, water and equipment to the ISS and was the first European spacecraft to carry out an automatic rendezvous and docking with a space station in April 2008. Once docked, the ATV used its own engines to correct the station’s orbit, compensating for a regular loss of altitude due to drag. At the end of its mission, it was filled with waste and burned up as it headed back into the Earth’s atmosphere. A total of five ATV missions are planned for the period up to 2013.



Astrium Services develops satellite services in the telecommunications, Earth observation and navigation sectors and has opened up a new era in European military communications programmes. Its wholly-owned Paradigm subsidiary, delivers a global secure satellite communications service to the UK Ministry of Defence for its next generation Skynet 5 programme. Paradigm has pioneered a service provision route for the delivery of military communications capacity, with a number of international organisations expressing a great interest in this approach. The system delivers milsatcom services not only to the UK MoD, but also to NATO, the Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, France, Germany and Australia and an ever-growing number of customers worldwide.
Astrium Services through SATCOMBw Step 2 also provides secure satellite communications for the German armed forces and commercial satellite services to the French Ministry of Defence as part of Astel-S program. The company also provides Welfare communications services to France’s troops deployed overseas, primarily in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East through a service called Passerel.

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