(24 July 2013) Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company, has recently signed a contract with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the South Korean space agency.
Under the terms of this contract, Astrium and KARI will jointly design and manufacture the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager II (GOCI-II) for the future Korean mission GEO Kompsat 2B, scheduled for launch in 2019.
“Astrium employees will now have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and expertise by providing KARI with one of the best oceanographic imagers in the world,” said Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Satellites. “This contract is also a great commercial success for Astrium, confirming our place as the world’s leading exporter of Earth observation space systems.”
The GOCI-II instrument, designed to provide detailed observations of the colour of the seawater, will contribute to a number of services associated with fishing, ecology and meteorology. It will, for example, be able to determine the amount of chlorophyll in the water, differentiate plankton species, identify algae proliferations and determine available fishing resources.
GOCI-II is the next generation to the GOCI first generation imager onboard the COMS satellite. GOCI was also developed by Astrium and has been successfully operated by the South Korean space agency since its launch in 2010. GOCI-II offers significant advances in comparison to GOCI: enhanced resolution (250 metres), 12 spectral bands and daily coverage of full disk Earth data.
GOCI-II has been designed using the latest generation technologies developed by Astrium for space applications, including a seven-million pixel CMOS sensor, a silicon carbide telescope and a high-precision pointing mechanism.
The contract signed with KARI also stipulates that six Korean engineers will help to develop the instrument at the Astrium site in Toulouse. Astrium has agreed to use South Korean industrial services amounting to 5% of the contract price. In addition, test resources made available by KARI at its Daejeon site in Korea will be used for environment testing.
This latest export contract illustrates the excellent cooperation between Astrium and KARI and is the fruit of research and development work conducted by Astrium for a number of years in the domain of optical instrumentation.
Institutional space programmes maintain and develop expertise and give the company a competitive edge. This competitiveness has enabled Astrium to become the leading exporter worldwide of Earth observation satellites, a position that also benefits the European trade balance. In addition to the Algerian satellite Alsat-2, Chilean satellite SSOT and Vietnamese satellite VNREDSat-1 launched respectively in July 2010, December 2011 and May 2013, Astrium Satellites is working on a number of Earth observation and science programmes won following international competition, including the DZZ-Kazakhstan satellite. Contracts have also been signed to equip Earth observation and science satellites with Astrium-built reflectors and other critical parts, including the gyroscopes that will be used on the NASA NOAA JPSS mission.
Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.
In 2012, Astrium had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.
Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Astrium Satellites, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Astrium Services, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.
Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.