Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a contract to continue operating and using European components on the International Space Station (ISS).

Valued at €16m, the annual renewal contract is valid until the end of this year.

As part of the agreement, the work will include supporting various operations, including preparing, conducting experiments and engineering support. The companies will also prepare ISS missions such as the integration of ISS payloads.

The agreement also includes maintaining, repairing and developing systems and software.

A team of astronauts led by ESA is looking after various operations in the European Columbus module, including the life-support systems, power supply, flight control systems, laboratory equipment and experimental payloads.

Airbus Space Exploration head Andreas Hammer said: “I would like to thank ESA for their continued confidence in our employees’ work. The ISS, the epitome of peaceful cooperation between many nations, has served as humanity’s outpost in low-Earth orbit for 20 years.

“Our dedicated systems experts help to ensure that the astronauts onboard the station have a safe environment in which to live and work, enabling them to continue with their valuable research in zero gravity.”

Airbus and ESA have partnered in operating the European ISS components in 2004.

In April, the Airbus-developed ‘Bartolomeo’ commercial payload platform was added on the ISS.

Last month, Airbus signed a payload slot contract with laser communications start-up Xenesis for Bartolomeo on the ISS, as well as secured a contract to build the third European Service Module (ESM) for the Orion spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the Moon in 2024.