(26 April 2012) OHB System AG and Kayser-Threde GmbH, both subsidiaries of the European space and technology group OHB AG, today signed contracts for the development, construction and testing of Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellites with Thales Alenia Space, the programme prime contractor.
The contracts were signed in Berlin at a ceremony attended by Prof. Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, the State secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Traffic, Construction and Urban Development. They are worth 750 million Euros, out of a total program cost of 1.26 billion Euros. With these contracts, OHB AG’s order book now exceeds 1.9 billion Euros, a new record for the company.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT (European Meteorological Satellite Organization) originally selected the team of Thales Alenia Space and OHB System for this program in 2010. Since this decision, development work has been implemented in accordance with “authorizations to proceed” (ATP). ESA and Thales Alenia Space signed the MTG contract on February 24, 2012.
Today, the industrial partners signed a package comprising four individual contracts. OHB System is responsible for developing and assembling two sounding satellites and four satellite platforms for the imaging satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space. On behalf of OHB System, Kayser-Threde is in charge of system management for the two sounding satellite payloads, as well as developing the telescopes for the four imaging satellites.
“By forming a core team with our German partners, OHB and KT, Thales Alenia Space was able to establish the industrial partnerships needed to meet the geographical return rules for the MTG program, from both the qualitative and quantitative standpoints,” said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Based on these choices, we can not only deliver the performance expected by users, but also develop the innovation and strategic expertise that match the expectations of the member states. With the signature of the contracts today, it is also well worth noting the excellent partnership developed by France and Germany. This strong relationship is built on the complementary capabilities of our companies, as well as on mutual respect and our ability to meet commitments.”
Marco R. Fuchs, CEO of OHB AG, stated: “I am sure that the MTG project will mark a significant milestone in the development of European meteorological capabilities and weather services for the people of Europe. The program also offers major opportunities for the further development of the OHB Group, while extending our technological capabilities. We will be systematically making use of these opportunities both at the individual operating companies and throughout the Group as a whole.”
Jürgen Breitkopf, Managing Director of Kayser-Threde GmbH, added: “We are proud of being able to contribute our expertise in optical systems to this major European project and delighted to be given this opportunity. Each of the six MTG satellites will be fitted with sophisticated sensing systems and instrumentation supplied by Kayser-Threde. The MTG program will also create more jobs over the years for people in Bremen and Munich, generating long-term technology gains and giving an enormous boost to the skills base. From a national point of view, this will build solid foundations for the future of our economy and technological capabilities.”
A resolution approving the MTG program was passed by the ESA ministerial-level conference in 2008. Germany and France are the largest participants in the program. With the support of the German government and the Ministry of Traffic, Construction and Urban Development, the OHB Group of companies has won major work packages on this program, including system management and the development of sophisticated payloads for the sounding satellites.
About Meteosat Third Generation:
Meteosat Third Generation, or MTG, is a six-satellite system comprising four imaging satellites carrying imaging and lightning-detection instruments, plus two sounding satellites that will offer infrared and ultraviolet detection for both climate and meteorological applications. The launch of the first MTG imaging satellite is planned for 2017, followed by the launch of the first MTG sounding satellite in 2019. The MTG mission will substantially improve the capabilities of European meteorological services.
The sounding satellites will deliver unprecedented data on water vapor and temperature profiles. They will also incorporate the Sentinel-4 instrument, providing detection capabilities in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared bands. This instrument will provide essential data on atmospheric chemistry and air quality as part of Europe’s GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative.