At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) currently taking place in Bremen, ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner and OHB Chief Executive Officer Marco Fuchs today signed a contract naming OHB System AG, a subsidiary of listed space and technology company OHB SE, the industrial principal contractor for PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars), the next major scientific research mission. The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to launch the PLATO space observatory in 2026 to detect and study exoplanets that are orbiting other stars.  


The contract covers the delivery of the 2-tonne satellite – with RUAG Space being part of the consortium around OHB. The respective contract was also signed today. Supporting to design and develop the satellite, RUAG Space will contribute its experience in the field of satellite structures. Furthermore, the company will build the optical bench, which forms the “basis” for the integration of the optical payload, namely 26 roughly knee-high cameras, which are being developed and assembled by the PLATO Mission Consortium, a federation of various European research centers and institutes under the lead of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). 


As a sub-contractor to Thales Alenia Space, which will be a core team partner to OHB for avionics, RUAG Space will also provide its Electronics know-how for the PLATO mission. Precisely, RUAG will contribute to the development and production of the Data Handling system that controls the satellite, stores science data and handles all communication with the ground station.


Plans of core team were convincing

“I am thrilled by the trust that has been placed in us,” says OHB Chief Executive Officer Marco Fuchs after signing the contract with ESA. “This is our first contract for the development and assembly of a complete research satellite for ESA. The plans that we worked on with our core team partners Thales and RUAG Space were evidently convincing. I am quite certain that we will also live up to expectations during the implementation phase particularly because our companies have been working together in a spirit of mutual trust for many years.”


Peter Guggenbach, CEO Division Space, said, “We are proud to be part of OHB’s core team for PLATO, and look forward to a successful mission. Teaming up at such an early stage will have a positive impact on many aspects of the industrial process – such as project planning, on-time delivery, as well as cost management. We are looking forward to contributing strongly with our experience both on the electronics and structures side.”