Matra Marconi Space

Matra Marconi Space (MMS) was a Franco-British aerospace company.

Matra Marconi Space
FateMerged with DASA in 2000
PredecessorMarconi Space Systems, Matra Espace
HeadquartersToulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
Area served
UK, France
Number of employees
1,100 (UK)
ParentGEC-Marconi, Lagardère Group


Matra Marconi Space was established in 1990 as a joint venture between the space and telecommunication divisions of the Lagardère Group (Matra Espace) and the GEC group (Marconi Space Systems). The merged company was announced in December 1989 and was owned 51% by Matra and 49% by GEC-Marconi. It would have annual sales of £300 million, with £8.7 million in assets from Marconi Space Systems and £10.7 million in assets from Matra Espace.

Claude Goumy, the Managing Director of Matra Espace was the first Managing Director. The first deputy Managing Director was Richard Wignall, the former Managing Director of Marconi Space Systems. The space industry was important to France - almost half the budget of the European Space Agency (ESA) came from the French government.


In 1991, British Aerospace was discussing with MMS how to merge their space interests, as well as Robert Bosch GmbH and Deutsche Aerospace.

On 19 July 1994 it acquired British Aerospace Space Systems (a subsidiary of BAe Dynamics with 900 workers) for £56 million.

On 11 August 1994 it bought Ferranti Satcomms (from administration), which was based in Poynton in Cheshire. Ferranti Satcomms brought satellite ground station, component and subsystem technologies to the group.

In July 1995, GEC bought 45% of shares in the National Remote Sensing Centre for the company. Also in July 1995, the company was looking to link up with Aérospatiale of Toulouse and DASA of Germany to form a Europe-wide space company. The company would (five years later) link up with DASA.

By 1996 the company was turning over more than £1 billion. In the late 1990s it developed a partnership with the University of Sheffield's Sheffield Centre for Earth Observation Science (SCEOS), which researched interferometry.

In November 1997 it announced that it would close the Filton site (former BAe Dynamics) in August 1999, with the planned transfer of 300 of 400 personnel and staff from Bristol to Stevenage. The Filton site specialised in scientific satellites and their computer software; projects included Ulysses, Hubble Space Telecsope Solar Arrays, Giotto, Envisat / Polar Platform, Soho and the Cluster spacecraft destroyed in the first flight of Ariane V. Over 380 staff left the Company and as a result MMS lost the ESA Prime Contract for the Rosetta spacecraft.

British Aerospace regained an interest in the company when it merged with GEC's Marconi Electronic Systems to form BAE Systems in November 1999.

EADS Astrium

In late 1998 it was discussing a possible merger with DASA.

In 2000, it was merged with the space division of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) to form Astrium.




See also


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