The Paz satellite: a defence and security solution provided by Astrium España

EADS Astrium España signed a contract with Hisdesat on 6 November 2008 to develop and build the first Spanish Earth radar observation satellite Paz. The signing ceremony was attended by Spanish Defence Minister Carme Chacón.

Paz is one component of the Spanish National Earth Observation Programme. The budget for the Paz satellite is estimated at €160 million, and covers the flight and ground segments, as well as the launch. The Spanish Ministry of Defence will provide €135 million of the funding, whilst the company Hisdesat will finance the rest.

Given that the satellite will be used for multiple applications in the field of security and defence, and could have potential civil applications, its image acquisition functions will be extremely diverse.

The industrial framework is as follows:

– Astrium España is the prime contractor, responsible for developing and building the satellite within a period of 48 months.

– The Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) will be responsible for the ground segment, which includes two control stations: one in Torrejón near Madrid and the other in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.

– Hisdesat will be the satellite’s operator, responsible for all commercial exploitation. The Spanish Ministry of Defence will be one of Hisdesat’s main customers, and one of the main beneficiaries of the satellite’s capabilities.

The satellite will be capable of providing images in any type of weather conditions, day and night, and will primarily fulfil the security and defence needs of the Spanish government.

The satellite

The Paz satellite will be equipped with an X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instrument, mounted on a TerraSAR-X recurrent platform, a hexagonal carbon-fibre structure. The TerraSAR-X platform will be provided by Astrium GmbH. The instrument’s radar antenna will incorporate printed-radiator technology developed by Astrium at its Madrid-Barajas site which has already been successfully used on other programmes such as Envisat, Spainsat, Inmarsat and Galileo.

The estimated mass of the satellite will be 1,200kg, and its solar array will generate power of 850W. The instrument’s printed-radiator planar phased-array radar will be 4.8m long and 0.7m wide. It will be designed to offer different modes of operation, with different swath widths, and various resolutions of up to a metre.

As satellite prime contractor, Astrium España is responsible for the systems engineering, as well as satellite integration and testing activities, satellite validation, and placing into orbit in a fully operational state.

Source EADS Astrium



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