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ESA selects Thales Alenia Space
The European Space Agency, ESA, has chosen Thales Alenia Space to build the new Euclid cosmology satellite in a contract worth €322.5 million. ESA’s selection of the satellite prime contractor follows its choice of the contractor for the payload module (PLM assigned to Astrium SAS of Toulouse), comprising a telescope and an optical bench hosting the instruments, announced earlier this year. The PLM contract will be incorporated into the overall prime contract, completing the tier-1 industrial team that will build the spacecraft. During Phase B of the program, scheduled to end in the third quarter of 2014, the industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space will add tier-2 contractors, based on ESA’s best practices selection process for the procurement. Scheduled for launch in 2020, Euclid will explore dark energy and dark matter, the essential but still mysterious ingredients in today’s “Standard Model’ of cosmology.