Italian aerospace and defence firm Leonardo and France-based Thales are considering for a joint bid of a space business from US-based company Maxar Technologies.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported that the sale of the business unit MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) could fetch more than $1bn and address concerns related to Maxar’s $3.2bn debt.

Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo was quoted by the news agency as saying: “For us, they have a very good technology in the antennas for satellites, so it is an option we are considering.

“We do have the capability of being a customer of Maxar and MDA also without this acquisition.”

Canada-based MDA is already a supplier to Thales Alenia Space, which is 67% owned by Thales and 33% by Leonardo.

Profumo added: “It is not something that is necessary to complete for our business. There is industrial sense in terms of integration but we are already a customer of them.”

In a separate development, Thales Alenia Space won a contract from Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to design and manufacture the SATRIA telecommunications satellite.

The full Ka-band satellite will carry more than 150Gb/s over the full Indonesian territory.

It aims to connect around 145,000 areas, including 40,000 hospitals, public buildings and regional government sites not linked by existing satellite or other terrestrial infrastructure.

According to Thales, the satellite will contribute to the development of digital infrastructure in Indonesia.

Expected to be launched in late 2022, SATRIA will be positioned in orbit at 146°E for a 15-year lifetime.