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May 20th, 2019

Arianespace Signs On to Launch the Spanish EO Satellite SEOSat for ESA

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA/Earth Observation Programs directorate) have signed a launch services contract with a Vega launcher for SEOSat (Spanish Earth Observation SATellite) for Spain's Center for Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI - Centro para el Desarrollo Technologico Industrial).

Artistic rendition of the Arianespace Vega launch vehicle.

SEOSat/Ingenio is a high-resolution optical imaging mission of Spain — the flagship mission of the Spanish Space Strategic Plan. The satellite will be launched along with the French CNES space agency’s TARANIS satellite aboard a Vega launch vehicle in the first semester of 2020 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).

The satellite will have a mass at liftoff of approximately 840 kg. and will be placed in SSO at an altitude of about 670 km.

The SEOSat/Ingenio mission is devoted to providing high resolution multi-spectral land optical images to different Spanish civil, institutional and government users, and potentially to other European users in the framework of the European Copernicus program and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems).

The overall mission objective is to provide information for applications in cartography, land use, urban management, water management, environmental monitoring, risk management and security.

The SEOsat/Ingenio Spanish Earth Observation Satellite — image is courtesy of SENER.

CDTI is funding the mission and has responsibility for programmatic aspects of the program. The project development managed by ESA as support to a national mission in the context of the European Earth Observation Architecture. A launch services procurement assistance agreement to this effect was signed between ESA and CDTI in Madrid on May 17, 2019. Within the agreement, CDTI has entrusted ESA with the technical and contractual management of the industrial activities, thus being in charge of the procurement of the SEOSat/Ingenio system’s space and ground segments.

The SEOSat/Ingenio spacecraft is the first built by an industrial consortium of the Spanish space sector companies led by Airbus Defense and Space/Spain.

Following the contract signature, Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programs at  ESA said that the company is happy to sign the agreement with CDTI and the contract with Arianespace. This marks a strong cooperation with Spain in the field of Earth Observation with the ESA support to the development of the SEOSat national  mission. The firm looks forward to launch early next year and to complement with SEOSat/Ingenio the European Earth Observation Architecture and to add another mission to the Third Party Missions portfolio of ESA.

Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, added that the company is delighted Arianespace has been selected by ESA to launch SEOSat/Ingenio, reinforcing the firm's relationship with Spain — a country that also is very involved in European launcher programs. Orbiting this satellite for the benefit of Spanish and European citizens — on a Vega launcher together with another institutional mission for France — reasserts Arianespace primary mission: ensuring European independent access to space.