COLORADO SPRINGS — Franco-Italian satellite manufacturer and space hardware provider Thales Alenia Space says it wants to get into the satellite servicing market, provided it can secure a government customer to kickstart the business.
Roberto Provera, Thales Alenia Space’s director of human spaceflight and transportation programs, said the company envisions having a servicing business by 2024 or 2025, and is currently in concept development.
The company’s servicer would have a strong focus on debris removal, he said.
“We would like to be able to be the first that can clean the orbit from debris, in order to have a better environment also around the Earth,” Provera said at the 35th Space Symposium here April 8. “With this in-orbit servicing capability, we plan to service satellites, we plan to clean the orbit, and we plan to start with some in-orbit manufacturing tests.”
Provera said Thales Alenia Space’s involvement in satellite servicing is predicated on having a government customer — likely the European Space Agency — at the start.
The European Space Agency is leading a program called e.deorbit that would capture a satellite and remove it from orbit, either by burning it up in Earth’s atmosphere or sending it far away ...