Oxford: Tessella selected as key supplier to the ESA Solar Orbiter Mission

Tessella, the international provider of science-powered technology and consulting services, has won a contract for the development and design of the Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystem (AOCS) for ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission. The project will take approximately four years and be worth in excess of €4 milion. 

Solar Orbiter has the objective of sending a spacecraft to monitor and observe the sun using a suite of advanced scientific instruments at a proximity never before achieved. Scientists hope to learn more about our home star and in doing so usher in the next era of solar science.

Solar Orbiter is an advanced mission in the best traditions of European science using a pragmatic blend of existing and new technologies to achieve its scientific objectives. The vantage point offered by its trajectory will be unique: encompassing both near sun and high latitude views. A combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements promise to revolutionise our understanding of the sun.

A team consisting of OHB Sweden, a Swedish provider of space systems, and Tessella will develop the AOCS for Astrium UK, the prime contractor for the Solar Orbiter mission.

Minister for universities and science David Willetts said: “Tessella is an important part of the UK space industrial base and the win demonstrates how UK SMEs can generate world-leading scientific and economic growth.”

David Whittle, sector director for government, space and defence at Tessella, commented: “We are pleased to have been chosen for this influential project. It demonstrates our ability to deliver value to our clients with our long experience in AOCS design.”

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, said: “Stevenage has a proud history as the capital of the UK space industry and I am delighted one of our local companies has won such a major contract. Tessella is a unique company with incredible expertise which is in high demand all over the world and I am proud they continue to base themselves here in Stevenage.”

Alan Gaby, managing director of Tessella, commented: “This is a tremendous win for Tessella and for the UK space industry. The project, which will be Tessella’s largest-ever contract, underlines the company’s leading-edge scientific skills and will fuel its expansion through increased recruitment.”