Thales Alenia Space, owned 67% by Thales and 33% by Leonardo, has signed a €25 million contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the 'LEO Cargo Return Service', a service for transporting cargo to and from space stations in low-Earth orbit.

This service is to be demonstrated by 2028 and will be co-financed by Thales Alenia Space.

During the first two-year phase (June 2024 to June 2026), Thales Alenia Space, as prime contractor, will develop the service, consolidate the business plan and seek to engage investors and potential customers.

Thales Alenia Space in Italy will lead the industrial project, with the participation of Thales Alenia Space in France for the development of the vehicle. ALTEC, a company owned by Thales Alenia Space Italia and the Italian Space Agency, will be responsible for the ground segment and recovery infrastructure.

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