Thales Alenia Space Wins UAV Study Contract from ESA

[Satellite TODAY Insider 10-10-11] Thales Alenia Space has won a new nine-month study contract from the European Space Agency (ESA), the company announced Oct. 10. The ESPRIT (Emerging system concepts for UAS command & control via satellite) study will focus on the provision of communication capacity for Command & Control (C2) links to Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs) flying through civilian airspace.
   Thales Alenia Space will study solutions at both spectrum and system levels. To cover all aspects of the domain, its team includes major actors in the aeronautical satellite communications, UAS, space systems and regulatory issues.
   Thales Alenia Space, like most satellite manufacturers, relies on a mix of government and commercial business. 2011 is likely to be a tough year for most satellite manufacturers’ due to the lack of new commercial orders, particularly in the first part of the year.
   However, in a recent interview with Satellite News, Thales Alenia Space CEO, Reynald Seznec says he expects government business in Europe to hold up for the company. He says, “European collaboration acts as a stabilizer, because when countries work together, if one is absent, this becomes more apparent. Secondly, space infrastructure spurs investment. The capital expenditure is high, but the operational expenditure is lower than it would be in other areas. In other words, it is almost a pure investment. I hope that our governments always realize this. In times of crisis, it is better to cut spending and not investment, which is critical for the future. The third reason concerns public services, like those provided by environmental and meteorological satellites. Nobody can imagine that these services will be terminated, that would be unacceptable.”

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