European Space Agency

Announcement of ITT: Equipments for Alphabus phase C/D: Propellant Tank for Chemical Propulsion System

The Alcatel Space / EADS Astrium Joint Alphabus Project Team in its role as system
responsible for Alphabus is in the process of issuing a competitive Invitation to
Tender for the following activity:
Propellant Tank for Chemical Propulsion System.The ITT will address the propellant tanks needed for Alphabus and include the following elements:

  • "the development for the Alphabus product line,

  • "the procurement of the protoflight model and

  • "the long-term agreements for the Alphabus commercial phase

The selected bidder will become part of the industrial consortium for the Alphabus phase C/D and subsequent contracts related to the production of Alphabus based Telecommunication satellites.

In anticipation of the phase C/D contract a predevelopment contract will be placed by ESA directly to the selected bidder to cover the initial phase. As part of the proposal to the subject ITT the bidder will be requested to identify the predevelopment activities corresponding to this initial phase.

Companies interested in bidding for the above mentioned activity should declare their interest by 13 April 2004 to:

Mr X. Périllaud
Contracts Officer EADS Astrium
Telephone: + 33 (0)5 62 19 50 97
Telefax: + 33 (0)5 62 19 54 21
Email :

Copies of this declaration of interest should be sent in parallel to:

Mr. W. Engels
Contract Officer ESA
Telephone: + 33 (0)5 61 28 19 04
Telefax:: + 33 (0)5 61 28 28 66
Email :

Annex : Propellant Tank for Chemical Propulsion System
Summary Description

Main characteristics: The needed capacity is in the range of 1510 litres per tank in a smallest version and 1910 litres tank in the largest version, for a target mass of 75 kg (per tank). It shall be mounted on the S/C via equatorial mounting interface.

Purpose of the ITT: This activity is to develop a new type of propellant tank for satellite bi-propellant propulsion application. This tank shall be suitable for the Alphabus with respect to capacity, mass and performance. The development will include design, manufacturing and formal qualification program.

Since the Alphabus requirement is exceeding the currently manufactured tank sizes made by EADS for Spacebus and MAN for Eurostar by more than 50%, it is expected that the major technical challenges will be:

  • spin forming of tank liner parts,

  • joining of thin-wall liners,

  • development of a large propellant management device (PMD) and integration in the liner,

  • over-wrapping of closed tank liner with carbon filament forming of integrated tank fixation lugs as part of the over-wrapping

The hardware to be delivered is anticipated to comprise:

2 tank dummies for Satellite level mechanical validation purpose,
1 Flight set (2 tanks) for AlphaBus Proto-Flight Model.

Event Date

08 April 2004
Published 22 September 2005
Last updated at 22 September 2005 - 00:00