From: Airbus Defence and Space
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Astrium has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (S5p) a low-cost mission to monitor atmospheric chemistry. The contract was signed in the presence of Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's Director General, David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, and David Williams, CEO of the UK Space Agency. With this O45.5 million contract, Astrium builds upon its Earth observation heritage.
S5p is part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme (GMES), which is a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). Under GMES, S5p is a high-performance, single satellite, low-cost mission that will bridge the observation gap predicted for when the current atmospheric chemistry measuring satellites ENVISAT and ERS-2 reach the end of their operations.
With a launch scheduled for early 2015 and a seven year lifetime, S5p will maintain the continuity of science data before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational towards the end of this decade. The Sentinel 5 instrument is scheduled to fly on the MetOp Second Generation satellites in a polar orbit.
The TROPOMI (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) instrument, developed by Astrium's subsidiary Dutch Space for ESA and the Netherlands Space Office, will take measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and other atmospheric pollutants at a higher resolution than existing instruments. Having more accurate atmospheric data will enable improved climate models and weather forecasting.
"The Sentinel-5 Precursor mission is fantastic news for Astrium as it was won in open competition in a tough environment. Not only is it the first ESA prime contract won by Astrium in the UK for seven years, it is also ESA's current GMES first low cost satellite programme. The mission will ensure that Europe retains the ability to monitor atmospheric pollutants before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational," said Colin Paynter, Head of Astrium UK.
The GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment & Security) programme was created by the European Commission with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). It aims to supply geo-information products and services based on the use of images from space that will help European institutions and public authorities to fulfil their mission of safeguarding the civil population, managing risks, and protecting the environment.
Astrium is the number one company in Europe and the third in the world for space technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.
In 2010, Astrium had a turnover of O5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and Astrium Services for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group - comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter - generated revenues of O 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.
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