Apr 05, 2007

Big Brother in the sky: Spain to launch satellite observation system

Estimated Article Reading Time: 1 min.

The system will be operational in 2010 and will be used to control frontiers against illegal immigration

The Canary Islands newspaper, Canarias 7, reported on Thursday that the Ministries for Defence and Industry are collaborating on a plan to launch two satellites into space, in a national programme for observation of the Earth.

They will observe all Spanish territory and the northern part of Africa.

The observation system will have both civil and military use, and will serve mainly to help in controlling Spanish frontiers against illegal immigration, and provide intelligence services with surveillance information on terrorist activity.

Sources at the Defence Ministry were quoted as saying that it will allow immigrant boats en route for Spanish shores to be located, and will also be key in detecting any risk from environmental catastrophes and forest fire. It will be additionally used in planning military operations and manoeuvres.

The two satellites ñ one optical, and the second a radar system ñ will be connected to a control centre in the Maspalomas Space Centre on Gran Canaria, sending back information from a distance between 500 and 700 kilometres above the Earth.

The I.N.T.A. National Institute of Aerospace Technology and the C.D.T.I. Centre for Technological Development are in charge of the project.

It is funded with 325 million Ä and is expected to be operational in 2010, when Spain will become the first country in Europe with its own satellite system for observation of the Earth.

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