Thales has signed a contract with Astrium, prime contractor for the Ariane 5 ME (Midlife Evolution) launcher, for the development of the control electronics on the upper-stage Vinci engine steering system.
Scheduled to make its first flight in mid-2018, Ariane 5 ME is a higher performance version of Europe's Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
The main change is a new, more powerful cryogenic upper stage powered by the Vinci engine, developed under Snecma responsibility. This engine offers multiple restart capability, greatly increasing the launcher's satellite orbital positioning capabilities.
In addition to developing the electronic control power unit (ECPU), Thales Alenia Space Belgium is developing a new version of the power distribution unit that supplies electricity to all of the launcher's systems and equipment.
Including these two new products, Thales will provide a total of 21 components and subsystems on each Ariane 5 ME.