After the completion of the feasibility study started two years ago, OHB Italia is now proud to announce the agreement for the spacecraft implementation phase. The mission target is to provide new insight in the evolution of comets and the origins of our Solar System.
Paris, December 15th, 2022 – Today the European Space Agency and OHB Italia signed the contract for the realization of Comet Interceptor, the first ESA mission in the “fast-class” category, with the financial support of ASI.
The industrial consortium led by OHB Italia as Prime Contractor includes OHB System AG, SENER Aeroespacial S.A. and OHB SWEDEN AB as main subcontractors. The agreement consists in full satellite’s design, development, manufacturing, procurement, integration, verification and delivery.
The contract’s value is EUR 117,5 Million and the nominal launch of Comet Interceptor is planned for 2028.
The Comet Interceptor system is composed of one main spacecraft (975 kg wet mass) and two small probes (37 kg each), which are designed to be manufactured and integrated independently for later mating. The three modules will first fly together to explore a pristine comet approaching from the periphery of the Solar System. After intercepting the comet’s coma (the tail), they will separate and the spacecraft will gather in situ scientific data from the celestial body using multiple payloads while performing a fly-by. The data return is enhanced by the two probes operating their own payloads and relaying the acquired information on comet’s nucleus, materials and plasma environment to the main spacecraft for download.
The Comet Interceptor mission will lead to ambitious scientific breakthroughs thanks to simultaneous measurements and science observations. The three spacecrafts will be the first to make a flyby of a pristine comet just starting its travel into the inner Solar System, thus revealing new data about the origins of our galaxy and of our Planet.
“With a successful history of forty years in space activities, a significative experience as prime contractor in satellite missions and the positive results of the study phase, OHB Italia is now ready to take full responsibility of the Comet Interceptor mission” – declared Roberto Aceti, Chief Executive Officer of OHB Italia – “We all know that the successful implementation of the Comet Interceptor mission is a big challenge, but the expertise of OHB Italia and of its industrial team is exactly what is needed to achieve such target. The company is ready to ensure for the project its best experienced resources and modern facilities. Moreover, in this effort OHB Italia is supported by the commitment of the OHB SE industrial group in order to maximize the compliance with all the requirements and science goals set by the European Agency”.