Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced July 9 that it has entered the final planning of the formation of a European subsidiary to serve the needs of the European space industry.
The new company, European Space Propulsion, will use indigenous manufacturing and engineering talent to produce proven in-space thrusters and propulsion systems.
European Space Propulsion is planned to be based in Northern Ireland and work will be done in partnership with Thales Air Defense Limited in Belfast. Thales will provide world-class manufacturing, assembly and test capability. European Space Propulsion personnel plan to work with local government and academia to enable state-of-the-art research and development activities in advanced space propulsion. Engineering support services will be provided by Aerojet’s Redmond, Wash. operations.
The announcement marks the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Aerojet and Thales UK, enabling detailed planning to be completed for production, research and development and test facilities. With the continued support of authorities in Northern Ireland and the United Kindgom, as well as license approvals from the U.S. Department of State, construction activities are expected to begin in early fall. Initial operational capability is planned by year end.
“By forming a European subsidiary, we can best serve the needs of a growing worldwide space industry with state-of-the-art propulsion solutions,” said Aerojet Vice President of Business Development, Rick Yezzi. “We look forward to becoming a full participant in the European space community.”
Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK, added, “We are extremely pleased to provide our high precision, lean aerospace manufacturing capabilities for this exciting new venture. By working together, Aerojet and Thales UK plan to bring a leading space company to Northern Ireland.”