Astrium Expanding Its Propulsion Facility in Germany

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PARIS — Europe’s Astrium space hardware manufacturer is investing 7 million euros ($9.1 million) to expand space propulsion production facilities in Lampoldshausen, Germany, to accommodate increased demand for satellite propulsion systems, Astrium announced.

The new investment follows a doubling of Astrium’s Lampoldshausen work force, to 350, in the past five years and reflects Astrium’s increased focus on making its component-supply business a profit center alongside the company’s work as a space system prime contractor.

In addition to providing chemical and electric-propulsion systems for Astrium’s Astrium Satellites division, the Lampoldshausen site is a supplier to other satellite builders including Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, and OHB AG of Germany.

In addition to satellite components, the Lampoldshausen site features a test stand for European rocket stages including the heavy-lift Ariane 5’s Aestus engine. Launch control systems for Ariane 5 and for the upper stage of Europe’s new Vega small-satellite launch vehicle are also produced in Lampoldshausen. Astrium officials are aiming at securing work for the European Space Agency on the European service module to be used for NASA’s  Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle.

The new investment, to be completed in 2014, will increase the Lampoldshausen facility’s size to 3,500 square meters compared to the current 2,500 square meters, Astrium said.