- April 14, 2008
- Posted by: EARSC
- Category: EARSC News
This contract covers the first satellite in the Sentinel-3 mission, dedicated to oceanography and monitoring of land vegetation.
The contract, worth 305 million Euros, has been signed today in Paris by Volker Liebig, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programs and Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, in presence of Dominique Bussereau, French Secretary of State for Transport in the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Land Management, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, the European Commission as well as the French Ministry of research and Higher Education.
Scheduled for launch in 2012, the Sentinel-3 satellite is an integral part of the GMES program, is led by the European Commission and co-funded by ESA. GMES is a European solution addressing today’s growing requirements for environmental management, and will play a pivotal role in developing a global environmental policy. Sentinel-3 will ensure the operational continuity of data provided by instruments on the Envisat satellite, while also improving instrument performance and availability.
As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space is leading a consortium of European companies including major partners in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. In addition, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the development of the platform and two major instruments, namely the Ocean and Land Color Instrument and the SAR Radar Altimeter.
The satellite will weigh about 1,200 kg at launch and is compatible with Europe’s new light launcher, Vega.
It will carry four main instruments:
- Ocean and Land Color Instrument (OLCI), designed to monitor ocean conditions (currents, marine life etc.) and coastal zones (pollution, currents, etc.), to support more accurate predictions of changes in these conditions and better management of resources.
- A second optical instrument, the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), will monitor the impact of climate changes on the temperature of our oceans as well as of the emerged land, and improve meteorological forecasts by fostering a better understanding of the relationship between oceans and the atmosphere.
These two instruments will also couple their data for a global vegetation monitoring mission, to determine the condition of vegetation and better manage its development. This mission was initiated by the Vegetation instrument developed by Thales Alenia Space in the 1990s.
- SAR Radar Altimeter (SRAL) and Microwave Radiometer (MWR), used to measure the topography of ocean surfaces, with quality equal to the data provided by the altimeters on Envisat. The mission will also cover the topography of ocean surfaces near coastal zones and ice masses. These measurements will allow us to better monitor the impact of climate changes (melting ice, rise in sea level, etc.), enhance maritime safety and improve meteorological accuracy by better understanding the relationship between oceans and the atmosphere.
“After signing the Sentinel-1 contract in June 2007, we are delighted with this new contract from ESA, reflecting their confidence in our ability to successfully carry out this mission that will play a vital role in assuring the continuity of oceanographic data,” said Thales Alenia Space President and CEO Pascale Sourisse. “We are particularly proud of our work in this field, reaching back nearly 20 years, as a pioneer in Europe through the very successful Poseidon altimeters and Meris, the flagship instrument on the Envisat program. We will be contributing our extensive expertise in Earth observation and radar development to the Sentinel-3 program.”
(source: Thales Alenia Space)