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Contract signed for building of GMES Sentinel-1 satellite

Paris, France, 18 June 2007: ESA and Thales Alenia Space have signed a €229 million contract for the design and development of Sentinel-1, an earth observation satellite to be built for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, and President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, Pascale Sourisse, signed the contract on behalf of the Italian branch of the company on June 18.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes Mr Volker Liebig said: “GMES is the next logical step in the development of operational services under the European Commission to provide Europe with the environmental data to support political decisions as a global player, with particular emphasis on the issue of climate change. With today’s signature, we are another step closer towards the realisation of the GMES Programme.”

The ESA Sentinels, composed of five satellites, constitute the first series of operational satellites responding to the EO needs of the GMES programme, a joint initiative of the European Commission and ESA.

Sentinel mission requirements focus on the continuity of existing services exploiting EO data and satisfying user requirements derived from GMES applications.

Sentinel-1 is expected to be launched in 2011 and will ensure the continuity of C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data with ESA’s ERS and Envisat satellites. Important applications driving the mission concept include marine – vessel detection, oil spill mapping and wind products – and sea ice mapping.

The Sentinel-1 spacecraft is expected image the Earth in swaths of 250 kilometres in diameter with a ground resolution of five metres.

Sentinel-2 and 3 satellites, scheduled for launch in 2012, will support land and ocean monitoring, while Sentinel-4 and 5 will be dedicated to meteorology and climatology through atmospheric chemistry.