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25 FEBRUARY 2021
THALES ALENIA SPACE BRINGS ITALIAN MANUFACTURING INTO ORBIT
The joint venture between Leonardo and Thales is an aerospace system integrator that designs modules for the International Space Station, scientific satellites, interplanetary probes and rovers in Turin. The world of space is constantly expanding and will be worth a trillion dollars in 2040. This is why the company is active both with ESA and with the USA and collaborates with Sabelt, Apr, Ellena and Blu Electronic.
Thales Alenia Space Italia - joint venture between the French group Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), a turnover of 703 million euros - is relaunching the challenge to continue to be a leading player in the space sector. «The market is becoming very competitive and we need to be more innovative and faster», says Roberto Angelini, Engineering Director of the Italian-French group. "There are important strategic opportunities in the space economy, but to be able to overcome the challenges that these projects impose, a change of pace is needed as the timing of product development is increasingly tight and requires a strong focus on costs".
To achieve this goal, the aerospace system integrator - which designs and integrates pressurized modules for the International Space Station, scientific satellites, interplanetary probes and rovers (transport vehicles on celestial bodies) in Turin - has therefore decided to select and involve the excellence of Italian manufacturing to develop products that can be "spatialized". The development model considers an engineering collaboration based on a win-to-win logic: for the group it means having reduced lead times and a continuous updating of the service catalog to be proposed internationally; for SMEs it means having the ability to access the space economy, a market that according to analysts of the American bank Morgan Stanley could be worth more than a trillion dollars in 2040.
As stated by the CEO Massimo Claudio Comparini, "Thales Alenia Space, as a large space manufacturing industry, must take up the challenge of being a catalyst for the activities that revolve around the sector, feeding the supply chain, the cooperation and the partnership, developing a collaborative co-engineering vision, in order to allow an evolution and an overall growth of the sector ».
Here the most recent contracts acquired by the group with the European Space Agency and with the American Northrop Grumman, the scenario of the space economy and the collaboration for the development of space components that Thales Alenia Space has started with Sabelt, Apr, Ellena (companies with a core business in the automotive sector) and Blu Electronic.
Space Economy - The Sabelt case
Specialized in the production of high-performance seat belts for the automotive and Formula One world, the Turin-based Sabelt, with a turnover of around 80 million euros, has transferred its technological know-how (resistant but very light materials) to the world aerospace, providing retaining systems for the Cygnus spacecraft, built by Thales Alenia Space. In this case the technology transfer took place from the automotive to the aerospace, following the reverse path of the Goretex which, in the 1970s, from a sophisticated material to meet the needs of astronauts' suits has become commonly used for footwear and technical clothing.