D-Orbit Pens IRIDE Contract Worth €26 Million12th Apr 2023
The European Space Agency (ESA) inked a contract with the Italian space transportation company D-Orbit for the development and demonstration of its In-Orbit Servicing (IOS) platform, called IRIDE. The contract is worth €26 million.
What is IRIDE?
The IRIDE constellation is designed to provide services such as active debris removal, satellite life extension, and relocation in space.
The contract between ESA and D-Orbit includes the development and launch of a demonstration mission using the IRIDE platform, which is expected to take place in 2024.
Part of the ARTES program
The contract was signed under ESA’s ARTES program, which aims to support European industry in the development of advanced telecommunications and integrated applications.
The ARTES program provides funding and technical support to companies like D-Orbit to develop new space technologies and services.
Funding provided as part of Italy’s PNRR
The €26-million contract for D-Orbit’s IRIDE platform is being funded by Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).
As per the company’s press release, the contract was signed with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, which is responsible for the PNRR.
The PNRR is a multi-year investment plan aimed at supporting Italy’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, and it includes investments in various areas, including space technologies.
Is it all as rosy as it seems?
It may not be as simple as it seems on the surface. Only last week, it was reported by Reuters that the European Commission had frozen a €19 billion tranche of NextGenerationEU funding to Italy.
The European Commission also requested Italy to provide clarification on efforts needed to reach their targets and milestones.
It’s not been clarified as to whether the D-Orbit €26 million falls under this funding or not, so we’re unsure whether the funds are frozen at present.
A huge milestone for D-Orbit
This contract is a significant milestone for D-Orbit and demonstrates the growing demand for in-orbit servicing capabilities in the space industry.