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Thales Alenia Space and OHB-System sign MTG contract with ESA


Europe’s next generation weather satellites contract worth 1.3 billion euros.
First geostationary infrared sounder worldwide.

Cannes/Bremen – Thales Alenia Space, the Prime Contractor, and its partner OHB-System, today announce the signature of an Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system. This program, co-financed by the European Space Agency and the European meteorological organization Eumetsat, will guarantee access to space data until 2037.

After a long and tough competition, this contract is the result of a rigorous selection’s process made by ESA and Eumetsat.

MTG is a six-satellite system of four imaging satellites carrying imaging and lightning detection mission as well as two sounders satellites providing infrared and ultraviolet capabilities, for both climate and meteorological applications. The launch of the first MTG imaging satellite is currently planned in 2017, marking the beginning of the in-orbit lifetime of the imagery mission, followed by the launch of the first MTG sounding satellite in 2019. The MTG mission will improve significantly the operational services delivered to the European Meteorological services which are the final users.

The sounding satellite will provide unprecedented information on water vapour and temperature profiling. It will also embark the Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Sentinel-4 instrument covering Europe and providing atmospheric chemistry and air quality information contributing to the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative.

“Today’s signature confirms our commitment, as a Prime Contractor, to addressing the multifaceted challenges of very high performance requirements and of the operational nature of the mission, requested for the European Meteorological services” said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “We are extremely happy and proud to meet the challenge of building the most ambitious geostationary satellites ever developed in Europe, and thank ESA and Eumetsat for their confidence.”

In addition to its Prime contracting role, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the imaging mission, providing the four imaging satellites and their main instrument. OHB-System is in charge of the sounder mission, providing the two sounders satellites while its sister company Kayser-Threde provides the atmospheric sounders instrument. Furthermore, OHB-System will develop the six satellites’ 3-axis stabilized common platform.

“This contract shows the bright side of our French-German team building for the benefit of this European programme, combining the right complementary skills in order to provide the best value for the customer” said Berry Smutny, President and CEO of OHB-System AG. “We thank ESA and Eumetsat for the confidence to build, integrate and test the two Sounder satellites in Bremen, and DLR for their utmost support and trust in OHB-System.”

Thales Alenia Space has developed the full range of skills and expertise needed for space-based meteorology over the last 30 years. The company built all 11 first and second generation Meteosat satellites, and has logged extensive experience in managing industrial consortiums, developing expertise in optical imaging and atmospheric sounding.

OHB-System contributes with the modern SGEO geostationary platform to the MTG programme. OHB-System has developed a worldwide acknowledged expertise in LEO and MEO satellite constellations like the German radar reconnaissance system SAR-Lupe. OHB-System has recently been selected for the development and integration of the first 14 satellites for the European navigation system.

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, which achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2009, has a total of 7,200 employees located in 9 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

About OHB-System
OHB-System AG is a mid-size German systems provider and third Large System Integrator (LSI) in Europe It belongs to the European space and technology group OHB Technology AG with more than 1,600 highly qualified scientists and engineers. The group generated total revenues of around EUR 322 million in 2009.
OHB-System develops low-orbiting and geostationary small satellites for scientific research, communications, navigation and earth observation. Its manned space flight activities include the participation in the assembly and outfitting of the International Space Station ISS, the Columbus research laboratory and the ATV automatic transfer vehicle. The exploration segment works on studies and models for studying our solar system, primarily the moon and Mars. Reconnaissance satellites and broadband wireless transmission of image data form core technologies for security and reconnaissance.


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