In the business world, it’s usually a smart idea to take advantage of a good thing while it lasts. That’s one reason why many are surprised that Thales Alenia Space will not be entering the bidding war for the manufacturing of the Turksat 4A and 4B, which are the latest telecommunications satellites in development with Turkey’s Turksat. Most of the previous spacecraft developed by Turksat went on to manufacturing at Thales Alenia Space.
With the most commonly used manufacturer out of the picture, other companies are jumping at the chance to win the bid, and Turksat has reported it has received the best-and-final offers from all bidders hoping to get in on the deal. Companies that have turned in bids include Japan-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp, the United States’ Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and the United States’ Orbital Science.
As of the end of October 2010, Turksat was already over due to announce the winner of the bid, which could push its plans to have the new satellite telecommunication devices in place by 2012. The companies vying for the bid will have to wait and see whether the delay affects Turksat’s timetable.
Orbital Sciences is a company based in Dulles, VA. It has worked with Thales Alenia Space in the past, but the manufacturing project would be the first time the company has won on its own, should Turksat pick them. Orbital will also be competing head-on with Astrium, which has partnered with the Indian Space Research Organization, for small telecommunications satellites. Astrium’s product hasn’t raised much interest in the market yet.
If Lockheed Martin secures the project, it would be one step toward the company’s plan to increase its profile in the commercial satellite market. The company has not announced contingency plans connected to this yet, but may should they fail to get the project.
In a bidding war with no answer, the only thing certain is that it won’t be Thales Alenia Space.