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ESA Selects Airbus for Copernicus Project

By | July 8, 2020

Photo: Airbus

The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space for major Copernicus environment missions, the agency announced Wednesday. Copernicus is the biggest provider of Earth Observation (EO) data in the world, and ESA develops, builds and launches the satellites. It also operates some of the missions and ensures the availability of data from third party missions.

Airbus Defence and Space in Spain will serve as prime contractor for the Land Surface Temperature Monitoring mission (LSTM), with an order value of approximately $425 million (375 million euros). Airbus Defence and Space in France will be responsible for the InfraRed instrument. Airbus Defence and Space in Germany will lead the development of the Polar Ice and Snow Topographic Mission (CRISTAL), with an order value of approximately $340 million (300 million euros), and Thales Alenia Space will supply the altimeter instrument. In addition to the LSTM infra-red instrument, Airbus Defence and Space will also be responsible for the L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload for ROSE-L with Thales Alenia Space Italia as prime contractor.

The total order volume resulting from the recent bid decisions, including payloads and critical equipment supply, is expected to be around $1.2 billion (1.1 billion euros). Final contract negotiations will start shortly and contract signatures are expected in the coming weeks.

Airbus Head of Space Jean-Marc Nasr said: “All Copernicus Sentinel satellites to date, Airbus is delighted that ESA is again entrusting us with such key European environmental missions, under the world’s most ambitious Earth observation programme. LSTM is the first Copernicus mission awarded to a Spanish company and is the second new generation infra-red instrument entrusted to Airbus this year. CRISTAL will leverage Airbus’ success on the Sentinel-6 ocean-monitoring satellite, launching later this year and the ROSE-L payload confirms our world leadership in space radar technology.”