Astrium to deliver six MTG propulsion systems to OHB

Updated: 2013-07-10 03:22:00


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PARIS, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Astrium, Europe's leading space company, announced Tuesday the signing of an agreement with a subsidiary of the European space and technology group OHB AG on the deliver of six Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) propulsion systems.

According to the agreement, Astrium will develop and build chemical bi-propellant systems for six MTG weather satellites, including four satellites equipped with imaging instrumentation and two satellites with sounding instruments, Astrium said in a statement.

The complete pre-integrated propulsion systems will be equipped with 16 chemical thrusters for orbit and attitude control, and one main satellite propulsion unit.

"The prime contractor for the MTG program is Thales Alenia in France. OHB System AG has been selected as a partner in the program for six satellite platforms as well as taking a lead role on both of the sounder satellites," Astrium added.

"The new contract is proof of Astrium's competitiveness, directly resulting from significant company investments and from its sustainable process improvement program," the space technology company said.

Astrium has developed a Unified Propulsion System (UPS), which is adapted for the MTG satellites and offers a complete pre-integrated drive system with 16 10-Newton thrusters for orbit and attitude control, and one 400-Newton apogee engine, all fuelled from two propellant tanks (925l) with hydrazine (MMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO).

After its release from the launch rocket, the 400-Newton apogee engine will propel the satellite to its 36,000 km geostationary orbit. At this stage, the majority of the fuel, around 80 percent of the total, will have been expended. The remaining 20 percent of the fuel will serve the satellite's 16 thrusters to maintain its exact orbit path for the 13-year mission, and for any adjustments required.

As a leading supplier of space transportation systems, Astrium has delivered complete UPS drive and propulsion systems for many other large European communication satellites.

The delivery of the first of six propulsion systems is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.

Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Astrium had a turnover of more than 5.8 billion euros (7.426 billion U.S. dollars) and 18,000 employees worldwide.