Leonardo's UK-based space business to provide engineering consultancy to the European Space Agency under a five year framework contract

Rome  11 September 2017 11:33

  •  Under the €11M/year framework contract, Leonardo’s Telespazio VEGA UK subsidiary will provide subject matter experts to the ESA covering areas such as earth observation, satellite communications and navigation, science operations and training support for astronauts
  •  The company’s site in Luton also supports the first UK ground station for the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed satellite radar constellation, based in Harwell
  • COSMO-SkyMed is able to provide a unique contribution to emergency first-response and disaster recovery, as demonstrated in the aftermath of the Harvey hurricane that recently hit the United States 

Leonardo is announcing a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) ahead of participation at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) conference in London this week. The framework contract, signed by Leonardo’s Luton-based Telespazio VEGA UK subsidiary and worth €11M per year for up to five years, will see the company provide subject matter experts to the ESA in support of their programmes and missions.

The ESA’s satellite programmes demand world class expertise and need to be innovative, robust, secure and work first time, every time. Telespazio VEGA UK is able to draw on the pan-European presence of the Telespazio Group to provide high quality staff, with a wide variety of engineering skill sets, to all of the ESA’s locations in Europe. Such skill sets include satellite communications/navigation, remote sensing, integrated applications, software and control systems, automation, optics, electromagnetics, power/radio-frequency systems, science operations, and training support for astronauts.

Leonardo is a major player in the international Space industry and is strongly committed to its Space business in the UK. This is in line with the ambitions of the UK Government which has identified the Space industry as a key sector for economic growth and is a major investor in British Space technology and research. 

A key part of Leonardo’s Space business is delivered through its majority-owned subsidiary Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%), one of the world’s leading players in satellites services which is headquartered in Rome. Telespazio VEGA UK is Telespazio’s UK-based subsidiary.

Some of Telespazio VEGA UK’s other major milestones in 2017 include:

•        The continued operation of the UK’s first COSMO-SkyMed Ground Station through the UK Customer User Terminal (CUT). The UK CUT provides high resolution, high frequency data from the COSMO-SkyMed constellation of 4 radar satellites to the UK market. The high resolution, the ability to observe during day or night and through clouds / rain, and make multiple observations per day over any location on the planet, allows a wealth of rapid response and regular monitoring for civil and defence applications. Imagery is able to be downlinked and processed within 30 minutes of acquisition. COSMO-SkyMed has recently proved to be of great help in the management of emergencies: images from these satellites were used in Texas to monitor the effects of hurricane Harvey.

•        The successful factory acceptance testing milestone of a major upgrade to the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Launch System. The system is used to launch Ariane, Vega and Soyuz launch vehicles at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The Jupiter Control Centre receives and manages all the information regarding launch, provides the facility for the countdown, and monitors the flight until the satellite is placed within the correct orbit.