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ESA awards Thales Alenia Space a 229 million euro contract to provide Sentinel-1

18 June 2007

Paris Air Show Le Bourget, June 18, 2007 - Thales Alenia Space is proud to announce that it has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide the first Sentinel Earth observation satellite dedicated to the GMES program.

The contract, worth 229 million euro, has been signed today at the International Paris Air Show Le Bourget by Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation and Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space.

As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space Italy is responsible for the design, development and integration of the satellite that will carry a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The radar will be based on Thales Alenia Space's key technologies such as the Transmit-Receive modules inside the active antenna.

The Sentinel-1 satellite, which is scheduled to be launched in 2011, is part of the GMES program - Global Monitoring for Environment and Security - a set of Earth observation missions co-funded by ESA and the European Commission. GMES represents the European answer to the ever-increasing requirements of environmental control, and thus provides an important contribution to environmental policies at a global level.

Based on a PRIMA platform, developed by Thales Alenia Space for the Italian Space Agency, Sentinel-1 will weigh 2,280 kilograms at launch and will look at the Earth in swaths up to 700 kilometres with a ground resolution of between 5 and 25 meters according to the selected operative mode.

Pascale Sourisse, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space commented: "We are particularly proud of having won this contract, as it leverages our long and recognised experience in successful Earth observation missions. Thales Alenia Space is also a worldwide leader in oceanography, climatology and meteorology. It highlights our major expertise in the manufacturing of advanced microwave sensors and synthetic aperture radars."

The ESA Sentinel suite is composed of five satellites. Sentinel-1 will ensure the continuity with ERS and Envisat C-band SAR data. Sentinel-2 and 3 satellites are scheduled for launch in 2012 and will support land and ocean monitoring. Sentinel-4 and 5 will be dedicated to meteorology and climatology through atmospheric chemistry study.

Thales Alenia Space is broadly involved in all the components included in GMES such as all kind of space sensors (COSMO-SkyMed, Pleiades, Jason, Meteosat...), architecture and information infrastructure (WIN...), space and terrestrial integrated systems using telecommunication, observation and navigation solutions for risk management, humanitarian aid and security (EMERGESAT, Astro +...), but also applications and services in the frame of the Space Alliance (Marcoast, MARISS...) dedicated to maritime operations, floods, fires, alert, crisis communications, localization.

About Thales Alenia Space
European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Together with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space forms the "Space Alliance" between the two groups. The company is a worldwide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With 7200 employees and 11 industrial sites, Thales Alenia Space is located in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

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