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Airbus and European Commission enter research deal for space manufacturing

Liam Garman

Airbus has signed an agreement with the European Commission to research space-based manufacturing.

Airbus and European Commission enter research deal for space manufacturing
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Airbus confirmed this week that the company will execute research into the possibility of construction of satellites while in orbit as part of a contract with the European Commission. The initial research, titled the PERIOD Project (PERASPERA In-Orbit Demonstration), is valued at €3 million and expected to run for two years.

It is hoped that the research will pave way for the assembly of parts and manufacturing of items such as antenna reflectors while in orbit.

Airbus outlined that the research concept is a critical leap for the space industry, as the construction and assembly of items in space will remove the hurdle of organising a launch. Airbus Defence and Space has assembled a team of seven researchers to undertake these findings.

Silvio Sandrone, head of space exploration future projects at Airbus, welcomed the agreement with the European Commission.

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“Airbus has been working on in-orbit manufacturing technologies for more than a decade and the PERIOD program will help Europe move its combined technological know-how to the next level,” Sandrone said.

“Future large scale space systems can only be manufactured and assembled in orbit, so it’s crucial that Europe is at the forefront of this key capability.”

[Related: Airbus secures ESA for three more European modules for NASA’s Orion spacecraft]

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