Astrium Awards $37.3 Propulsion Contract to QinetiQ for Mercury Mission
[Satellite TODAY 09-03-09] QinetiQ today signed a $37.3 million contract with EADS Astrium to supply a solar-electric propulsion system for the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) BepiColombo satellite mission to the planet Mercury, scheduled to launch in 2014, QinetiQ announced Sept. 2.
QinetiQ will install a system comprised of four T6 ion thrusters and complemented by several planetary gravity-assist maneuvers to compensate for Mercury’s strong gravitational pull and to use Venus’ gravity to swing toward its destination. The same thrusters are currently being used on ESA’s GOCE spacecraft
“As the industrial prime contractor for the spacecraft, Astrium selected QinetiQ on the basis of the company’s world leading capability in this field,” Mike Healy, director of Earth observation, navigation and science for Astrium, said in a statement.