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Farnborough 2022: Thales Alenia Space downselected for UK ISTARI programme

Artist‘s impression of Skynet 6A military communications satellite, planned for launch in 2025, which the Space Alliance plans to support. (Airbus)

Thales Alenia Space UK – a joint venture (JV) between Thales and Leonardo – has been downselected for an early-stage study of the UK ISTARI programme.

Speaking to Janes at the Farnborough Airshow 2022, Mark Hewer, the CEO of Telespazio UK, said that Thales Alenia Space UK was downselected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 1 July to provide a firm proposal for an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) constellation demonstration.

The project, known as ‘Jove', is essentially an early-stage study for the UK ISTARI programme, he said. ISTARI is a near GBP1 billion (USD1.2 billion) UK project that seeks to develop a military ISR multisatellite system.

A total of three parties have been downselected including the Thales Alenia Space UK proposal, led on behalf of the Space Alliance (a Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space partnership), Hewer added.

Phase one of the study was a pre-qualification process, in which the MoD required interested parties to justify why they were suitable and whether they were able to meet the requirement, Hewer said.

The next stage of the project would be to pull together a firm proposal to the customer. Hewer was unable to provide further details regarding their proposal at the time of publication.

Also at Farnborough, the Space Alliance – a JV between Leonardo and Thales formed back in 2005 – announced that it intends to focus its efforts on meeting the UK's space requirements. Hewer explained how they plan to centre on supporting the UK ISTARI programme and Skynet, a UK military communications project.

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