Astrium has been selected by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to develop an Earth Observation (EO) Hub at the new International Space Innovation Center (ISIC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire, U.K. The 4.9 million pounds contract will see Astrium lead an industrial consortium, which will be responsible for the design and integration of an EO Hub which will include a spacecraft operations center, with the ability to coordinate multiple satellites, and a UK specific capability for payload data processing.
As the prime industrial contractor, Astrium’s team will include VEGA, the professional services company as core partner, together with SSTL, the specialist small satellite manufacturer, and Infoterra, a leader in geo-information products. The development of the Hub will provide the UK with its own ground capability, a critical first step in establishing an overall sovereign EO capability, and a key recommendation of the recent ‘Space Innovation Growth Strategy’. The strategy was developed as a joint government, industry and academia initiative that set out a 20-year vision for the future growth of the UK space industry.
It is envisaged the new EO hub will be among the first in Europe that will actively encourage direct collaboration between government, industry and academia in developing a center of excellence for satellite operations and the acquisition of EO data, while providing new opportunities for products and user delivery. Work on the design and installation of the EO Hub, which will be housed in the Electron Building at Harwell, will start immediately and is expected to be operational by March of 2011.