Thales Alenia Space Italy (TASI), Italy

Contact :
FEUDALE Marziale-Antonio

European leader for satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Finmeccanica (33 %) and forms with Telespazio a Space Alliance. Thales Alenia Space is a worldwide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. Thales Alenia Space has 11 industrial sites in 4 European countries (France, Italy, Spain and Belgium) with over 7,200 employees worldwide. Thales Alenia Space is at the heart of the most high-performance satellite technologies in both civil and defense sectors.

The company is deeply involved in:

  • Environmental projects based on Earth observation such as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Safety (GMES) program with Sentinel-1, Meteorology such as MSG (Thales Alenia Space provided all the Meteosat satellites for Eumetsat), Climatology as satellite prime contractor for SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) mission;
  • Defense, as prime contractor for the French Syracuse (I, II and III) and the Italian (Sicral) telecommunication systems as well as for the Italian Earth Observation system COSMO-SkyMed; and main partner of the German telecom program (Satcom BW) and of the Earth observation programs Helios (France) and SAR-Lupe (Germany);
  • Navigation with Galileo and prime contractor of EGNOS - the precursor of Galileo;
  • Science and Exploration, as prime contractor for the ExoMars mission - one of the most ambitious exploration missions in the near future, and for the GOCE satellite (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer);
  • Space Infrastructure and Transportation as provider of 50 % of the ISS pressurized volume.

Today, Thales Alenia Space is the leading European supplier of satellite-based solutions for Defense and Security, with strong positions in both space and ground segments. In addition, the company is the European benchmark supplier of facility operational services for the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) as well as for the French, Italian and German Ministries of Defense, the Defense procurement agency DGA and other major customers. Thales Alenia Space is also active in the civil-military satellite export market, through Koreasat 5 in South Korea, Star One in Brazil and Yahsat in United Arab Emirates.

Thales Alenia Space has signed an industrial cooperation agreement with the Russian company NPOPM to jointly develop a high-power multi-mission satellite platform (Express 4000) and buy from Russian suppliers common equipments for the Spacebus 4000 and Express-4000 series.

MEMS activities in Thales Alenia Space - Italia is running since 2000 with collaboration between different external partners. A single RF MEMS switch on silicon has been first developed, followed by the realization of more complex structures such as Single Pole Double Through and 2x2 switch matrixes. The manufacturing on Si has been made in an external foundry (FBK-Italy). Moreover TASI has developed, manufactured and tested different micro-packages made by means of the LTCC process set-up at L’Aquila plant.

In the year 2007 TASI set-up a manufacturing process for the building of RF MEMS switches directly onto LTCC substrates, by using standard multilayer thin film equipment available at L’Aquila plant. The MEMS switches have been designed on coplanar transmission lines to work with RF signals up to 20 GHz: clamped-clamped beam switches in series and shunt configuration have been taken into account. Both shunt bridge geometry and series bridge geometry have been designed. The preliminary measured RF performance show a very good behaviour up to a frequency of 30 GHz. Up to 80.000.000 continuous on/off switching at 1 Khz frequency have been successfully performed on these switches.

A summary of TASI skills on RF-MEMS follows:

  • Electromagnetic design and simulation
  • FEM mechanical design and simulation
  • RF MEMS on Si technology available through external foundry (FBK Trento-Italy)
  • RF MEMS manufacturing on Al2O3 (Internal Capability)
  • RF MEMS manufacturing on LTCC (Internal Capability)
  • RF MEMS packaging (Internal Capability)
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