Europe is a world power in the manufacture and launch of satellites, but for its construction we still depend on foreign technology, especially from the United States. This is going to change in a couple of years thanks to PROMISE project of the European Union, led by Spain the satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space.
This French company with more than 8,000 workers, has a dozen industrial facilities in five countries. The Spanish subsidiary will lead the PROMISE (PROgrammable MIxed Signal Electronics) project of the European Commission, which aims to develop the control chips that will make it possible to manufacture 100% European satellites.
PROMISE is part of the HORIZONTE 2020 Research and Innovation program, one of whose objectives is reduce Europe’s technological dependence on the United States, when it comes to launching space missions.
The European aerospace industry, although it manufactures its own satellites, has to buy from the United States the electronic chips considered the brains of the satellites, the so-called mixed signal Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). They are one of the most expensive elements of the satellite itself.
The PROMISE project that Thales Alenia Space is going to develop is going to be in charge of creating a library of blocks designed and tested for these chips. This will not only eliminate dependency on the United States, but the development time of the components of the satellites will be reduced by between 20 and 40%, plus costs will be greatly reduced. Buying technology is much more expensive than developing it yourself.
“It is a pride to lead from Spain a revolutionary and pioneering initiative in the continent that will allow the development of “Made in Europe” satellites. PROMISE will position the European space industry at the forefront of cost-competitive solutions and allow participating companies to take a leading role in future space projects”Said Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain.
Thales Alenia Space leads this consortium from Tres Cantos (Madrid), together with Thales Alenia Space in France, ISD (Greece) and MENTA (France), and the R&T institutes IMEC (Belgium), IT (Portugal) and VTT ( Finland).
The PROMISE project was launched last January, and the chips will be finished in 2022, if everything goes according to plan.
An initiative that promises to revolutionize the European space industry, as it will allow make satellites much cheaper, with 100% own technology.