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The Italian company will develop the technology for the storage and protection of the mission scientific data, which will be launched with Vega-C in 2023

Mola di Bari, May 6th, 2021- SITAEL, a leading Italian Space company in the field of small satellites, has signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space Italia (joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %)), prime contractor of the ESA mission, to develop and supply one of the key elements of Space Rider, the automated robotic laboratory which will be launched on Vega-C in 2023 designed to perform scientific experiments in microgravity.

SITAEL, in collaboration with the two Italian SMEs Intelligentia and IngeniArs, will be in charge for the development of the on-board memory (Mass Memory Unit), which will allow the storage of the scientific data, coming from 10 different instruments in activity on the Space Rider, protecting them from radiation and extreme temperatures that characterize the unfavorable space environment.

“We are very glad to participate in this program” – underlines Chiara Pertosa, President of SITAEL – “We started working on the opportunity back in 2019, in line with what is Sitael’s Corporate Strategy: to be an Italian reference company for Space, both as system integrators and as developers of stand-alone solutions and products, as in this case. We stand alongside Thales Alenia Space and AVIO but also of many Italian SMEs that collaborate in a profitable way to the development of the Space landscape of the country.”

By adopting the CAN communication protocol (the same used in the automotive industry) and COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) components, SITAEL developed the first technology for radiation data protection for ESA back in 2016, after providing data handling/processing units with memory capacity and power units for missions such as Solar Orbiter, Juice, GAIA, Copernicus Sentinels.


The spacecraft on-board data control, processing, managing and routing module will be highly integrated into a programmable device and will be reusable for at least 6 flights, fully consistent with the Space Rider reusability characteristic. In fact, ESA’s new space laboratory is designed to remain in Earth’s orbit for 60 days, returning than with its valuable data, to be prepared for a new flight. During the space flight inside the Space Rider payload bay, scientific research experiments in pharmaceutical, biomedical, biological and physical sciences will take place.


Sitael is part of an European consortium, led by Thales Alenia Space and AVIO, that is developing the technologies to enable the maiden flight in 2023.

Besides Space Rider, which is confirming Sitael leadership in digital electronic, Sitael is leading an Italian team for a multi-mission all electric platform for ASI (PLATiNO), and is providing key electronic equipment for the main space missions of the next years: Cosmo Second Generation, Copernicus, Meteosat Third Generation, JUICE.

Credit by ESA