Press releases

SEOSAT/INGENIO Spanish satellite ready for shipment The journey to Kourou begins

Press releases

SEOSAT/INGENIO Spanish satellite ready for shipment The journey to Kourou begins

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    Madrid, September 23, 2020 – On Thursday, September 24, the Spanish optical Earth observation satellite SEOSAT/INGENIO will begin its journey from Torrejón air base in Madrid (Spain) to Kourou, for a launch on a Vega rocket. SEOSAT, acronym for Spanish Earth Observation Satellite, is a high resolution optical satellite devoted to civil use, to be placed in orbit at an altitude of 670 kilometers with a launch scheduled on November 18, 2020.

    SEOSAT/INGENIO is a project of the Ministry of Science and Innovation within Spain’s national strategy, led by delegation by the CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development), which also assumes the cost of the project. This satellite is an integral part of Spain’s National Satellite Earth Observation Program (PNOTS) together with PAZ, a SAR radar satellite in orbit since February 2018. SEOSAT/INGENIO represents one of the largest projects undertaken by the Spanish industry: it has been built by an industrial consortium comprising 11 Spanish companies, with Airbus as prime contractor of the program, SENER Aeroespacial as prime contractor of the optical instrument and Thales Alenia Space in Spain as supplier of all the electronics of the instrument and the satellite communication systems. Thanks to the coordinated effort of all the companies involved, the construction of the satellite has been successfully completed, with the assembly of all the units in Madrid.

    SEOSAT/INGENIO will provide high resolution images to different civil, institutional and governmental users. Its main observation areas will be the Spanish territory, Europe, Latin America and North Africa, as well as the general areas defined by European users in the frame of Copernicus and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems). The information delivered by SEOSAT/INGENIO will have application in cartography, land management, coastal surveillance, water resources management, agricultural monitoring, precision agriculture, environmental control and crisis management (security and emergencies) in catastrophes.

    The satellite consists of a platform embarking a primary payload, a high-resolution, high-performance optical instrument with an image capacity of 2.5 million km2/day and up to 600 images per day. Led by SENER Aeroespacial and with electronics contribution of Thales Alenia Space, this instrument is designed to take terrestrial images in two channels, one panchromatic (PAN) and the other multispectral, which in turn is made up of four bands (blue, green, red and near infrared).

    As the instrument prime contractor (see video), SENER Aeroespacial has been responsible for its conception, architectural design, manufacture, integration, alignment and verification: of the detailed optical, opto-mechanical and thermal design; of the integral management of the project, engineering coordination, quality control, and management of integration and tests activities; and the management of subcontractors and suppliers. In addition, SENER Aeroespacial has been supported by Thales Alenia Space for the functional and optical quality validation of the instrument and the verification of the instrument qualification.

    Diego Rodríguez, Director of Space of SENER Aeroespacial, expressed the relevance of this mission for Spain and thanked the CDTI and Airbus for the trust placed in SENER Aeroespacial for the development of such a specific and vital technology for the mission. He added:

    "With SEOSAT/INGENIO, SENER Aeroespacial has developed the capacity to deal with this type of instrument, which is available to very few companies in Europe and the world".

    The configuration consists of two identical cameras, complementarily aligned in order to acquire altogether the 55 km trace needed to fulfil the mission objectives, working in sweep or pushbroom mode. The primary payload provides a native image with ground pixel resolution of 2.5 m in the panchromatic channel and 10 m in the multispectral bands. The instrument achieves very high image quality and very good radiometric quality performances. It weighs 130 kg and has an approximate volume of 1.5 m x 1.5 m x 1 m.

    Thales Alenia Space in Spain drew on its expertise in the field of high-resolution optical technologies to design, manufacture, integrate, test and deliver all electronics for SEOSAT/INGENIO observation instrument. The payload electronics guarantee the correct operation of the cameras, as well as the power supply, data acquisition and transmission, and thermal control. It plays a vital role in the success of this mission, since the equipment must be able to process the electronic signals that carry the image information at extremely high speed and without any degradation. Only advanced facilities like the Optical Detection Laboratory of Thales Alenia Space in Spain offer the environment and capabilities needed to assembly, integrate and test electronics equipment of this class

    Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain, commented:

    "We are proud to have contributed to the design of this satellite and to the instrument consecution, which is a milestone for Spain in the field of Earth observation. We would like to thank the CDTI and our industrial partners for calling on our proven expertise in communications systems and optical equipment, to provide new observation services to Spanish civil, institutional and government users. This success reinforces the positioning of our site in Madrid as a European centre of excellence in optical instruments and supports the expansion of our activities in the field of Earth Observation and science instruments.”

    Once it enters into service, SEOSAT/INGENIO optical images will complement the radar images that Paz has provided since it started operations. In this way, Spain will have a dual satellite system, made up of an optical and a radar platform, whose data can be combined to offer higher resolution and enhanced information on the Earth's surface.

    About SENER Aeroespacial

    SENER Aeroespacial has been a leading supplier of high performance aerospace systems for Space, Defense and Science for more than 50 years, with high added value technological developments.
    In Space, it supplies electromechanical components and systems, navigation systems (GNC/AOCS), communications, astronomy and optics systems, and it is currently participating in the main programs of ESA and NASA (including Euclid, Meteosat Third Generation, Solar Orbiter, JUICE, Proba-3, Hubble, Galileo, Rosetta, Gaia, Herschel and Planck, IXV, BepiColombo and Mars 2020) and the European Southern Observatory; in the Space commercial market, is a leading supplier of telemetry and telecommand antennas and a regular supplier of all types of antennas, passive equipment and radio frequency assets for the leading international manufacturers of communications satellites, even in programs for the so called New Space.
    SENER Aeroespacial is part of the SENER engineering and technology group, founded in 1956. The SENER Group has 2,350 professionals in offices in four continents and the group's operating revenue exceeded 433 million Euros (2019 data).
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    More information:
    Oihana Casas. Comunication. SENER. Tel (+34) 918077318 / (+34) 679314085

    About Thales Alenia Space

    Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 2.15 billion euros in 2019 and has around 7,700 employees in nine countries.

    About Thales Alenia Space in Spain

    Thales Alenia Space is well represented in Spain and is the country’s leading space company in the satellite segment, with 31 years of experience in the design, development and sale of advanced space systems and equipment. It has contributed to 600 satellites, space probes and vehicles used in telecommunications, Earth observation, science, exploration, navigation and orbital infrastructure missions, and delivered more than 4000 equipment and subsystems accumulating 200,000,000 hours of flight operations. Thales Alenia Space in Spain offers a wide range of solutions spanning the design and integration of payloads and subsystems for telecommunications, data transmission and TT&C (tracking, telemetry and command), optical observation instruments, radiofrequency equipment, data processing and digital electronics, network management systems for the ground segment, telemetry transmitters for launchers and communication systems for spaceports.

    Thales Alenia Space – Press Contacts
    Sandrine Bielecki Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
    Catherine des Arcis Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 72 82
    Marija Kovac Tel: +39 (0)6 415 126 85
    Oriol Casas Thió Tel: +34 91 807 78 06