Astrium has secured a €240m contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to manage the continued operation and exploitation of the European components of the International Space Station (ISS) as the lead partner in a consortium.
The contract, which covers the period between 2011-2012, represents the first phase of a long-term service agreement between ESA and Astrium for the entire planned service life of the ISS, through to 2020.
Astrium has been selected as a prime contractor for all services, which are divided into work packages, related to the operation of the European components of the ISS.
Under the contract, Astrium will provide services that include mission preparation and delivery, astronaut training, developments for new experiments and research facilities, maintenance and logistics for all European ISS components and the associated ground stations, communications and data transfer.
Both companies have also agreed to implement a series of measures over the next few years aiming to reduce the costs of the programme by some 30% between now and 2016.
Astrium will lead a consortium consisting of some 40 industrial partners in the ten European countries participating in the ISS as a prime contractor for the provision of services to users of the European components of the ISS.
ESA's director of Human Spaceflight and Operations Thomas Reiter said: "In Astrium, ESA has found a reliable partner to serve as prime industrial contractor and consortium leader. The company is uniquely placed to manage the operation and exploitation of the International Space Station through its experience in manned orbital systems. By signing this initial contract, Astrium has accepted the task of delivering services for the operation of the ISS during the period 2011/2012 for a fixed cost of €240m."