Under their former names of Contraves, Saab, Ericsson, Schrack, ORS, HTS and Mecanex, the companies that now constitute RUAG Space, helped to mould the European space programmes from the very beginning.
RUAG Space has been a major player in the European Ariane launcher programme since its inception. From the very first launch in 1979 to the present day, every single Ariane rocket has been equipped with payload fairings and guidance computers from RUAG Space. Our payload fairings and guidance computers have a 100 percent mission success rate.
1968 saw the launch of ESRO-1, the first western European satellite – the structure of which was supplied by the former Contraves AG, Zurich. Also from Contraves were the brackets for measuring instruments, the attitude control and thermal control systems. Due to favourable environmental conditions electromagnetic compatibility testing was carried out in a tent which was place on a hill near Zurich.
Under the former names of Saab and Ericsson, the Swedish RUAG Space subsidiary started their space activities in the late 1960’s. While Saab became focused on computer technology and mechanical systems, Ericsson specialized in microwave equipment. In 1992 Saab Ericsson Space AB was formed by merging Saab and Ericsson space activities in a joint operation with 60% Saab and 40% Ericsson ownership. In 1995/96 Saab acquired the Austrian companies "Schrack Aerospace" and "Österreischische Raumfahrt und Systemtechnik" (ORS), in Vienna, Austria. They were merged into Austrian Aerospace GmbH. In 2006, Saab AB acquired Ericsson Microwave Systems and their shares in Saab Ericsson Space and a fully owned subsidiary, Saab Space AB was formed.
RUAG acquired Saab Space in 2008. One year later the Swiss technology company also took over the former Contraves Space which had been re-named to Oerlikon Space in 2006. As a result RUAG is today the biggest independent European supplier of space technology to the industry.