Thales Alenia has been chosen to lead European study on the feasibility of data centres in space

The project arises amid the need to find solutions for digital technology’s expanding environmental footprint. It is intended to demonstrate whether space-based data centres are a viable and climate-friendly alternative to traditional infrastructures.

As part of the Horizon Europe research programme, the Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space was selected by the European Commission to lead the ASCEND (Advanced Space Cloud for European Net zero emission and Data sovereignty) feasibility study for data centres in orbit.

The study will assess the possibility of launching, developing, and operating data centres in space using robotic assistance technologies, as well as verify whether the carbon emissions for installing the infrastructure will be lower than that generated by their ground-based counterparts.

In addition to helping the EU achieve its climate targets, the project could represent a groundbreaking development in the European space and digital sectors.