Refuel satellites directly into space, or repair or replace their components, move them to other orbits or facilitate their smooth atmospheric reentry.
These are the goals of the "In Orbit Servicing" mission, created on the initiative of the Italian government, thanks to the resources of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), with the support of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), which aims to develop enabling technologies and operations to make space more sustainable, whose contract was signed in recent days.
The mission, which will be ready for launch by 2026, involves the development of autonomous robotic vehicle provided by Thales Alenia Space capable, thanks to a specific robotic arm from Leonardo designed in collaboration with SAB Aerospace, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), of performing satellite removal, repair and refueling actions directly in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
As part of the mission, Telespazio, in collaboration with ALTEC, is responsible for the design, development and qualification activities of the ground segment, which will be completed by the first half of 2026. In the second half of 2026, in addition, Telespazio will also contribute to the definition and preparation of space operations of the next phases of the mission.
Thanks to the experience acquired in the field of space operations and in the development of Earth segments in major space programs, with the participation in "In-Orbit Servicing demonstration mission" Telespazio confirms its leading role in Italy and Europe in the field of operations of strategic importance.