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Industry Space industry, Space tourism
Predecessor EADS Space
Successor Airbus Defence and Space
Founded December 2006
Founder EADS
Defunct 2013 (reorganized)
Headquarters Paris, France
Revenue 5.8 billion (2012)
Number of employees
18,000 (as of 2012)
Parent EADS

Astrium was an aerospace manufacturer subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) that provided civil and military space systems and services from 2006 to 2013. In 2012, Astrium had a turnover of €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Astrium was a member of Institute of Space, its Applications and Technologies.

In late 2013 Astrium was merged with Cassidian, the defence division of EADS and Airbus Military to form Airbus Defence and Space.[1] EADS itself was reorganized as the Airbus Group, with three divisions that include Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Helicopters.[1]

Business structure[edit]

During 2006–2013, the three main areas of activity within Astrium were:[citation needed]

  • Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment
  • EADS Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure
  • Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.


Astrium Satellites was one of the three business units of Astrium (now Airbus Defence and Space), a subsidiary of EADS (now Airbus Group). It is a European space manufacturer involved in the manufacturing of spacecraft used for science, Earth observation and telecommunications, as well as the equipment and subsystems used therein and related ground systems.

EADS Astrium Satellites employs around 8,348 people on nine sites in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain. As of 15 October 2012, the CEO of Astrium is Eric Beranger who took over from Evert Dudok who became Astrium Services.

Company history[edit]

Astrium was formed in 2000 by the merger of Matra Marconi Space (itself formed from French and British companies) with the space division of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG and Computadores Redes e Ingeniería SA. Henceforth Astrium was a joint venture between EADS and BAE Systems.

On 16 June 2003 the minority shareholder, BAE Systems, sold its 25% share to EADS, making EADS the sole shareholder. Astrium became EADS Astrium Satellites and in a wider restructuring became the major constituent of EADS Astrium, which also included EADS Astrium Space Transportation and EADS Astrium Services. In this restructuring the former Astrium Space Infrastructure division merged with EADS Launchers & Vehicles division to form EADS SPACE Transportation, which became later EADS Astrium Space Transportation. Also, Paradigm Secure Communications, initially created by Astrium in the frame of the Skynet 5 contract for the UK Ministry of Defence became the major constituent of EADS SPACE Services.

CASA Espacio became part of EADS Astrium on 1 January 2004. EADS Astrium is the sole shareholder of Infoterra Ltd.

On 1 July 2006, the French subsidiary of EADS Astrium, EADS Astrium SAS, merged with other French subsidiaries of EADS Space (especially EADS Space Transportation). The name of the new company is Astrium SAS. Equivalent mergers have been achieved in 2006 in the other countries. The EADS group does not communicate about these mergers, excepted when required by the law, such as in contractual documents.

Space transportation[edit]

EADS Astrium Space Transportation was formed in June 2003 from the Space Infrastructure division of Astrium (whose core was originally ERNO) and the EADS Launch Vehicles division (formerly Aérospatiale's Space division). Until July 2006 it was called EADS Space Transportation and was a fully owned subsidiary of EADS Space. In July 2006 the three subsidiaries of EADS Space (EADS Space Transportation, EADS Astrium, and EADS Space Services) were reintegrated into one company, EADS Astrium, of which EADS Astrium Space Transportation is a business division. Currently 4397 employees work in the launcher segment.

The Space Transportation company is the prime contractor for the Ariane 5 launcher, the Columbus Module of the International Space Station, and the ATV, as well as a number of smaller projects (most notably Phoenix). It also builds launchers for the French nuclear missile program (see also Military of France), such as the M51 SLBM.

It joined the team led by Lockheed Martin for a bid on NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), being in charge of the craft's Mission Module. The team won a contract from NASA in June 2005.

In 2005, EADS Astrium Space Transportation started a campaign in favour of a project called LIFE, for astronomy from the Moon surface.

The company has facilities in France (Les Mureaux near Paris and Saint-Médard-en-Jalles near Bordeaux) and in Germany; the main facility in Germany is located in Bremen.

After Evert Dudok took over from Antoine Bouvier as Head of EADS Astrium Satellites on 11 June 2007, Alain Charmeau assumed responsibility of the management of EADS Astrium Space Transportation.

Past and current programmes[edit]



Earth observation[edit]




Astrium Services is the services division of EADS Astrium.

The services division specializes in military satellite communications services and currently employs about 2,200 personnel.

Astrium Services is responsible for delivering the following services and systems:

Space tourism[edit]

Logo used until 2010

In June 2007, EADS Astrium announced it would be entering the space tourism sector. On June 20, 2007 the company unveiled a model of the space jet, a one-stage sub-orbital hybrid craft, utilising both jet and rocket engines. Carrying four passengers, the space jet would take off from regular airports using conventional jet engines. After flying to the needed altitude, the rockets would then be fired. After reaching its final altitude of 100 km, passengers would experience weightlessness for three minutes. Tickets were expected to cost up to €200,000 with flights possibly beginning in 2012.[3] EADS estimated the development cost would approach 1 billion Euros. In March 2009 EADS Astrium confirmed that the program had been placed on hold indefinitely; the decision had been made in January of that year.[4]

On-orbit satellite servicing[edit]

In September, 2012, Astrium won a €13 million mission definition and design contract from the DLR Space Administration to build a two-vehicle set of spacecraft to demonstrate several technologies necessary for on-orbit satellite servicing, including spacecraft refuelling, in order to enable satellite mission extension and also controlled disposal of a defective satellite. The project is entitled "DEOS" (German orbital servicing mission), and consists of two satellites, a 'client' and a 'servicer'. The client acts as the satellite requiring maintenance or disposal. The servicer carries out the necessary work on the client. The two spacecraft will be launched together into low Earth orbit of 550 kilometres (340 mi). As of 2012, the mission "will be ready for launch in 2018."[5]


Taufkirchen, Germany: EADS astrium (main building)

In 2010 Astrium signed with JSC NC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary (KGS), the national company charged with the development of Kazakhstan’s space programme, a contract for a Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) Centre in Astana. Under the contract Astrium will provide and install the various test equipment (mechanical, radiometric, thermal and acoustic facilities) at the new AIT Centre. Astrium will also assist KGS in the construction of the AIT Centre to ensure coordination with the test equipment. The AIT Centre will form part of the Space City that the Kazakhstan space agency, Kazcosmos, is developing in Astana. The city will also include the ground segment for the two Astrium-built satellites, as well an administrative building and a space museum.[6]

    10 July 2000 1 December 2006 1 April 2009 17 September 2010 17 January 2014 27 May 2015
  European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV Airbus Group NV Airbus Group SE   
Airbus Military Airbus Defence and Space   
  EADS Defence and Security Cassidian
    EADS Astrium
   Eurocopter Group Airbus Helicopters   

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Messier, Doug (2014-01-05). "EADS Reorganizes, Acknowledges Success of SpaceX". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Firm rockets into space tourism". BBC Online. 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  4. ^ March, Rayon. "EADS Astrium puts its "space jet" on hold indefinitley - Hyperbola". Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  5. ^ "Astrium wins DEOS contract to demonstrate in-orbit servicing". Press Release. EADS Astrium. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Kazakhstan and EADS Plan Strategic Partnership". The Gazette of Central Asia (Satrapia). 23 November 2012. 

External links[edit]