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Jason-2 launch a success

20 June 2008

Cannes, June 20, 2008 - The Jason-2 satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, was successfully launched today by a Delta II rocket from the Vandenberg base in California. It will be placed into the same orbit as its predecessor Jason-1, inclined 66° and at an altitude of 1,336 kilometers, to provide virtually complete coverage of ice-free oceans.

The Jason-2 operational oceanography program is a quadripartite collaboration between CNES, NASA and two meteorological organizations, Eumetsat and NOAA. It will pave the way for new services, such as maritime forecasts for ships, and coupling of this data with weather forecasts.

Based on a Proteus platform, Jason-2 carries the Poseidon-3 altimeter, also built by Thales Alenia Space. In addition to its unrivaled measurement precision, this instrument features an experimental mode capable of providing measurements near coastal zones, as well as on lakes and rivers. The Poseidon-3 dual-frequency altimeter is the key instrument on this observation mission.

"The success of this launch is a major step forward in operational oceanography and Thales Alenia Space is delighted to once again partner the teams working on climate monitoring," said Reynald Seznec, Chairman and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our company has played an important role in the success of altimetry missions from the outset. Most recently, with the Sentinel-3 contract, we have consolidated our commitment and the recognition of our expertise through the major European program GMES [Global Monitoring for Environment and Security]."

The world leader in space altimetry, Thales Alenia Space has been at the forefront of major environmental challenges for over 20 years, spanning meteorology and oceanography. Thales Alenia Space is also the European leader in high-resolution optical and radar observation payloads for both civil and military applications.

About Thales Alenia Space
European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups' "Space Alliance". Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company has a total of 7,200 employees and 11 industrial sites, with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

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