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Satnews Daily
October 17th, 2016

Thales Alenia Space Spain Sees Red...To Make Infrared Earth Observation For ESA        

It's a first for Spain—a contract from the ESA for developing a thermal infrared imaging instrument.

Thales Alenia Space Spain has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the preliminary technological development of a thermal infrared imaging instrument. Designed to complement the observation capabilities of visible bandwidth imagers on Earth observation satellites, this instrument will be used for remote sensing applications such as water resource management and crop monitoring, a key to addressing the nutritional needs of the world’s population over the next few decades. The need and priority for this technology has recently been confirmed by the user and scientific community1.

The Spanish company will lead a broad industrial consortium comprising Thales Alenia Space France (France), Kampf Telescope Optics (Germany), Leonardo-Finmeccanica (Italy) and SENER (Spain). The new instrument will use a novel approach, based on new advanced detectors, to provide an affordable solution for small Earth observation satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO).

This is the first time that ESA has chosen Spanish industry to lead the development of an optical Earth observation instrument. Following the signature of this contract, Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space Spain said,  “We are proud to have earned ESA’s trust in our ability to lead the development of this infrared imaging instrument. Winning this contract reinforces our strategy of moving up the value chain to assume leadership in the design recognition of Spanish industry’s leadership and technological capabilities.” 

1 Copernicus Agriculture and Forestry Applications User Requirements Workshop, 30 June 2016, Brussels