On 4 October ESA's Director General, Jean-Marie Luton, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Italian company Alenia Spazio, Andrea Pucci, will sign - in the presence of Minister Umberto Colombo - the 10000th ESA industrial contract in Rome at the Ministry of Universities and Scientific and Technological Research.
ESA awarded Alenia Spazio this 446 Million ECU contract for the development and building of the ARTEMIS telecommunications and data relay satellite. ARTEMIS is scheduled to be launched in 1996 on Ariane 5. As prime contractor for the ARTEMIS satellite, Alenia Spazio will lead an industrial group of more than 70 highly-skilled European companies.
ARTEMIS, an advanced satellite for experimenting and operating new telecommunication techniques, will help introduce new services such as pan-European satellite telephony with mobiles (trucks and trains for instance) and will be used to relay data between other spacecraft orbiting at lower altitudes and ground stations in Europe.
To carry out its research and development programmes, ESA spends the bulk of its budget on industrial activities. Thanks to this policy, each Member State receives, in exchange for its investments considerable industrial contracts and major benefits from the technological spin- off.
In the last twenty years, ESA has awarded European industry contracts in excess of 18 billion ECUs. These contracts stimulated industrial activity in a number of interrelated ways: development of new technologies, system engineering, management, commercial sales and other economic spin-offs.
Since ESA's beginning in 1975, the European space industry has developed a high degree of competence that puts it in the forefront of the worldwide space activities.