Matra Marconi Space

Matra Marconi Space
Matra Marconi Space
Former type Subsidiary
Industry Spacecraft
Fate Merged with DASA in 2000
Predecessor Marconi Space Systems, Matra Espace
Successor Astrium
Founded 1996
Defunct 2000
Headquarters Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
Area served UK, France
Products Satellites
Employees 1,100 (UK)
Parent GEC-Marconi, Lagardère Group

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



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 reserached interferometry.

In November 1997 it announced that it would close the Filton site (former BAe Dynamics), at a loss of 400 jobs, in August 1999. The Filton site specialised in scientific satellites and their computer software.

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.


  • Jean-Bernard Lévy 1993-4
  • Roger Wood -1996



See also


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