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Thales Alenia Space to Contribute to NASA NEO Surveyor Mission

By Mark Holmes | February 14, 2024

Rendering of NASA’s NEO Surveyor mission. Photo: NASA JPL

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with prime contractor Ball Aerospace to supply communications equipment for NASA’s NEO Surveyor mission, a telescope designed to hunt asteroids and comets. Thales Alenia Space announced the contract award on Feb. 13.

This five-year mission aims to advance efforts to defend Earth against near-Earth objects like asteroids and comets, specifically within 50 million kilometers from Earth’s’s orbit. NEO Surveyor will employ an infrared space telescope designed to discover and characterize at least two-thirds of the near-Earth objects more than 140 meters across capable of causing significant damage should they impact the Earth. The planetary defense mission is scheduled for launch in 2028.

Thales Alenia Space will provide S-band Transponder, K-band Modulator and K-band Travelling Wave Tube Amplifier (TWTA) equipment for the NEO Surveyor spacecraft.

“We are thrilled to provide key communications equipment for the NEO Surveyor mission, which will represent a significant advance in NASA-led planetary defense efforts to protect our planet from hazardous asteroids and comets. For more than 40 years Thales Alenia Space has contributed to hundreds of missions providing critical communications technologies, from Low Earth Orbit to Deep Space, including flagship NASA missions to explore the universe such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope,” Emmanuel Terrasse, vice president of equipment for Thales Alenia Space, said in a statement.