Astrium Wins Satellite Contract From ESA
[Satellite Today – 5-27-08] Astrium has won a contract worth 263 million euros ($415 million) from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop and build the EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) Earth observation satellite, Astrium announced May 27. The news of the deal is a major boost to Astrium. The EarthCARE satellite will weigh around 1.7 metric tons, and is scheduled to launch in around five years time. EarthCARE will spend three years taking measurements from a polar orbit (97° inclination) at an altitude of about 400 kilometres.
The satellite will focus on clouds, aerosols and their influence on atmospheric radiation and aims to contribute to a better understanding of our climate and deliver valuable data for the numerical forecasting models of climate researchers and meteorologists.
Astrium (Friedrichshafen, Germany) will be responsible for the industrial management of EarthCARE and the integration and test activities. The satellite is equipped with four instruments, two passive and two active sensors that will supply a unique data package with only one satellite mission. Astrium (Toulouse, France) will supply the active laser instrument, while the platform supplied by Astrium, the multi-spectral imager supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) and the broadband radiometer supplied by SEA are being produced in the United Kingdom. The fourth instrument is the cloud profiling radar, which will be supplied by the Japanese Space Agency.