The Astrium space division of European aerospace giant generated an estimated €5.8 billion in revenue in 2012, up 17% over the previous year at €4.9 billion, including €500 million from the purchase of mobile satellite services distributor Vizada in 2011.
The company’s order intake last year totaled €3.7 billion, up from €3.5 billion the previous year, including contracts for two telecom satellites for Russian fleet operator RSCC, two new Grace spacecraft for, the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Solar Orbiter mission, a through-life support agreement with French defense procurement agency DGA over the next six years for the Helios Earth observation system, and the next-generation Comsat NG project to succeed France’s Syracuse 3 system by 2019.
EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders said he was pleased with the outcome of the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) November 2012 budget meeting in Naples, Italy, where ministers from the agency’s 20-member states approved €10 billion in new spending for new and ongoing programs over the next several years. These include continued work on an upgrade to the Ariane 5 rocket, known as the Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution Adapted and design work on the launch vehicle’s successor, the Ariane 6.
“The decisions taken there clearly reaffirm Astrium’s strong position as a top player in the global space industry,” Enders said during an annual EADS press conference here Feb. 27.
Last year Astrium saw a record seven launches of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket, one of which lofted the third of five Astrium-built Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) to the International Space Station (ISS). The company also launched nine of Astrium-built satellites in 2012, among them four telecom spacecraft, two Galileo satellite navigation satellites, the Metop-B polar-orbiting meteorological observatory and the SPOT 6 and Pleiades 1B optical imaging satellites.
In addition to the €300 million Solar Orbiter contract, Astrium won a €112 million contract for designing new subsystems for the Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (Ariane 5ME), an upgrade to the existing heavy-lift rocket that is aimed at improving payload carrying capacity by 20%. Astrium also won a €56 million agreement to adapt the Ariane 5 in its ES configuration to perform simultaneous launches of four Galileo spacecraft and a €13 million contract for two studies into ATV development.
Other contracts include a €12 million agreement with the German Aerospace Center DLR to develop a satellite maintenance and de-orbiting technology demonstrator dubbed DEOS and €12 million to supply nine precompression rings to the international ITER nuclear fusion project.
Astrium’s space services division was one of eight companies selected last year to provide up to $2.6 billion in satellite telecom solutions over five years to U.S. government agencies under the U.S. General Services Administration’s Future Comsatcom Services Acquisition (FCSA) custom satcom solutions (CS2) contract. Astrium also signed a three-year framework agreement with the European Defence Agency (EDA) to supply satellite communications services to European defense ministries under a new pooling and sharing agreement.
In March Astrium garnered a new contract with the French Defense Ministry’s joint logistics and supply agency, Economat des Armées, for the supply of private telecom services for troops serving overseas, and last year saw the renewal of Britain’s WelComE contract to support six Britishships with Astrium’s SCOTPatrol 0.8-meter X-band satellite terminals. In July Astrium signed a contract with U.S.-based Harris CapRock to provide U.S. government and international customers with UHF tactical satellite communications services when Astrium’s military satellite communications spacecraft becomes operational in the spring of 2013.