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Successful launch of the 3rd German SAR-Lupe satellite, equipped with SAR sensor electronics units

01 November 2007

Cannes, November 1, 2007 - Thales Alenia Space applauds the successful launch of the third SAR-Lupe satellite that will provide high-resolution images to the German Ministry of Defence. The satellite was boosted into orbit today from the Plesetsk space centre by a Russian Cosmos-3M rocket at 1:51am CET.

Thales Alenia Space has supplied the Sensor Electronic units forming the core of the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), set to provide high-resolution radar imagery to the German defence forces. The SAR-Lupe program, which has a life-time of 10 years, comprises a constellation of five identical small satellites (720 kg - 250 W) which will be positioned into 3 quasi polar orbital planes at 500 km altitude, and a ground segment.

The construction and the launch contract of the five satellites was awarded in 2001 to a consortium of 13 European companies led by OHB-System AG as prime contractor. The first SAR-Lupe satellite was launched on December 19, 2006 and the second one on July 3, 2007. They are both supplying high-resolution images and operating very successfully and reliably. Two more SAR-Lupe spacecraft are scheduled for launch at intervals of four to six months until the constellation is completed in 2008.

This mission is based on the most sophisticated technologies in SAR radar field, able to get images under any weather or light conditions (day or night). The system will supply recent and high definition images of virtually any region in the world. It will provide image in X-band and offer a spatial resolution of less than 1 metre. It may operate in "spot light" mode to improve the spatial resolution. Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the design and development of the Sensor Electronic Units, comprising radiofrequency, processing and control sub-units.

The ground segments for SAR-Lupe and the French Helios II systems will be inter-connected, so that each country can use the other's satellite and receive imagery. This data combination will significantly improve the reconnaissance capabilities of the two partner nations.

Thales Alenia Space is the leading European supplier of satellite-based solutions for defence and security with strong positions in both satellite and ground systems*. Building on its long and unrivalled experience in Earth observation, the company is the world leader in very high performance optical and radar payloads.

* Prime contractor for Syracuse, Sicral and COSMO-SkyMed systems, main partner on SAR-Lupe, Helios 2 and Pleiades, sole supplier of dual-use civil and military satellites on the export market (Koreasat-5, Star One C1 & C2).

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, defence and security, navigation and science. With 7200 employees and 11 industrial sites, Thales Alenia Space is located in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. www.thalesaleniaspace.com

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