Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), is leading from Spain the consortium of a revolutionary project, SCOPS (Scalable COntroller for Power Sources), which will position European industry at the forefront of the development of cost-efficient solutions, accelerating its leadership in small satellite New Space and megaconstellations, two key paradigms of space development in the 21st century. SCOPS, which officially kicked off in Tres Cantos on 23 March and will culminate in December 2026, is part of the European Commission's Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme, one of the pillars of which is European autonomy in space.
Europe's aerospace industry currently depends on non-European countries such as the United States, where most mixed-signal ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit), electronic chips considered the "brains" of satellites and one of the most expensive elements in their development, are manufactured.
SCOPS aims to provide the European space community with a scalable controller device for power sources, an ASIC that will allow several power supply lines to be controlled in parallel. A flexible circuit that will overcome the limitations of existing controllers in terms of intelligence, performance level, features and radiation robustness, enabling the design of competitive, multi-application space power supplies, such as highly integrated digital processors, active antenna amplifier modules, high-speed video and image processors and compressors, among others. These units, in turn, will become the core of new space missions for telecommunications, Earth observation or space exploration.
This development will build on the results of the earlier PROMISE project led by Thales Alenia Space, currently underway, which is working on a library of designed and tested building blocks for ASIC chips to cut satellite component development times by a third and reduce costs.
European autonomy in space
In line with Horizon Europe's work programme, this project will provide the European space sector with a key component based entirely on European suppliers and, as such, not subject to third-party export regulations, favouring the industry's independence from other countries such as the United States. "SCOPS will foster the growth of the sector both at home and abroad and will generate quality employment and technological leadership, multiplying the return to European citizens of the investment provided by this Horizon Europe initiative. We are proud to be able to lead such a cutting-edge initiative from the Thales Alenia Space team in Tres Cantos," said Stéphane Terranova, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain.
The consortium is made up of leading SMEs such as ISD (Greece and Ireland) and Synergie CAD (France), key technology institutes such as IMEC (Belgium) and INPT (France); and a leading satellite manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space (France and Spain). The Thales Alenia Space team in Spain is leading the project and is responsible for its overall coordination, ensuring the coherence and appropriateness of the different developments. The company in Spain will also be responsible for the final validation of the project results, carrying out a complete electrical and radiation test campaign on SCOPS ASIC.