Paris, January 31, 2006 - In the frame of a contract signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), Alcatel Alenia Space has started the ExoMars mission design. The ExoMars mission aims at sending a lander rover to Mars in order to find traces of past or present life. This contract, worth about 13 million Euros, calls for one year mission design work up to the preliminary design review including the definition of the main system elements of the mission.
ExoMars is the first robotic exploration mission to be developed within the European space exploration program Aurora. Aurora objectives are to create and implement a European long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of the solar system as well as to search for life beyond the Earth.
The ExoMars program, commissioned by ESA for a budget of about 600 million Euros, is one of the most important exploration missions in the near future. Scheduled to be launched from Kourou in 2011, the ExoMars mission will enable exobiology studies. The mission will collect new information on Mars environment to prepare future human explorations.
In the scope of the mission design work, Alcatel Alenia Space consolidates the mission objectives, defines the system elements, as well as the Rover Operations Control System and Mission Exploitation System concept.
Vincenzo Giorgio, Director for Optical Observation & Science programs from Alcatel Alenia Space in Italy said: "We are pleased that ESA Council has decided to go ahead with the Aurora program and its first mission ExoMars. This mission, like Huygens, represents a great challenge to both the space industry and Alcatel Alenia Space, paving the way for future Mars missions."
Having a successful track record in this domain, Alcatel Alenia Space is ready to take on this challenge due to a number of complementary skills, from the ability to coordinate international alliances in long-term endeavours, to the assembly, integration and testing of scientific probes, through the proven expertise in the technologies needed for space astronomy and interplanetary missions with landings including deep space telecommunications.
About Alcatel Alenia Space
Alcatel Alenia Space is the European leader in satellite systems, at the forefront of orbit infrastructures. Created in July 2005, the company brings together the vast experience and know-how of Alcatel Space and Alenia Spazio to form a new leading force in European space technology. Alcatel Alenia Space represents a worldwide standard for space development that impacts everybody's future: from navigation to telecommunications, from meteorology to environmental monitoring, from defence to science and observation. Alcatel Alenia Space is an affiliate of Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) (67%) and Finmeccanica (Milan:SIFI.MI, FNC.IM) (33%).
Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers and enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. Alcatel brings its leading position in fixed and mobile broadband networks; applications and services, to help its partners and customers build a user-centric broadband world. With sales of EURO 12.3 billion and 56,000 employees in 2004, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries.