ESA contracts Eurockot for two Sentinel Launches
Prof. Dr. Volker Liebig (left), Senator Martin Günthner (middle) and Dr. Matthias Oehm (right)
Bremen, 09 February 2012: The Earth Observation Programme Directorate of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eurockot Launch Services GmbH today signed two new Satellite Launch Service Contracts in support of the European GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) Sentinels programme. These contracts cover the launch of the Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-3A satellites.
Individual launches of these two satellites are scheduled from late 2013 onwards, using Rockot launchers from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia. ESA selected Eurockot as the launch service provider for these missions following an international competition in 2010.
The contract signing by Volker Liebig, Director Earth Observation Programmes, ESA and Matthias Oehm, Chief Executive Officer, Eurockot Launch Services GmbH, was witnessed by the Senator for Economics, Labour and Ports of the Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen, Mr. Martin Günthner and by Mr. Alain Charmeau, Chief Executive Officer of Astrium Space Transportation, and was conducted during a ceremony at the historic Chamber of Commerce of Bremen.
Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-3A belong to the GMES programme which is funded jointly by the European Commission and the European Space Agency. Supporting European policies, GMES uses accurate and timely data to provide key information services to improve the way the environment is managed, help mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. Since the provision of reliable data is key to the success of the GMES programme, ESA is developing five families of Sentinel satellites specifically for GMES.
Each operational Sentinel system comprises two identical satellite flight models to comply with tight revisit and product delivery latency. Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-3A are the first satellite models of the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 twin-satellite constellations. Sentinel-2B and Sentinel-3B are scheduled for launch in 2015.
Sentinel-2A is the GMES operational wide swath high resolution super-spectral land imaging mission designed for data continuity & enhancement of Landsat and SPOT-type missions. Sentinel-2A carries a super--spectral optical payload which will image the Earth's land masses, delivering operational applications in the field of agriculture, forestry, land cover and cartography, including support humanitarian relief work and extraction of geophysical variables from vegetation. The industrial prime contractor for Sentinel-2 is Astrium in Friedrichshafen. Rockot will inject the 1200KG satellite into a Low Earth Sun-synchronous Orbit at 786 km altitude with a Mean Local Solar Time at Descending Node of 10:30. Sentinel-2 also features an advanced optical communication payload designed by TESAT-GmbH and delivered in kind by the German DLR to ESA to secure alternative mission data recovery by the ground segment through the European Data Relay Satellite.
Sentinel-3A is the GMES operational wide-swath medium resolution ocean and land mission designed for providing continuity to optical and altimetry data of the ENVISAT mission and vegetation data of the SPOT mission.
Sentinel-3A will globally monitor ocean, ice and land combining a multi-spectral optical mission which provides sea/land colour data and surface temperatures and an altimetry mission contributing to the determination of the sea surface, ice surface and in-land water topography. In addition, as complementary objectives, the Sentinel-3 mission provides additional vegetation, fire identification and atmospheric products. The Industrial prime contractor is ThalesAleniaSpace in Cannes. Sentinel-3A, which mass is close to the 1250 kg, will be injected by Rockot into a Low Earth Sun Synchronous Orbit of 814.5 km altitude with a Mean Local Solar Time at Descending Note of 10:00.
Eurockot Launch Services GmbH is the joint venture of EADS Astrium (holding 51%) and Space Center Khrunichev (holding 49%) and performs Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch services to operators of Earth observation, remote sensing and scientific satellites form dedicated satellite preparation, launch and customer facilities at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia. Eurockot is based in Bremen, Germany.
Commencing commercial launches in the year 2000, Eurockot has meanwhile served international customers including, NASA, national space research institutes in Korea and Japan, the Canadian Space Agency, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the European Space Agency.
Eurockot already performed successful launches for the European Space Agency in the past when the Earth Explorer series GOCE and SMOS climate research satellites as well as the PROBA-2 technology demonstrator were orbited in 2009 using Rockot launchers. Eurockot's next launch will also be in support of the Earth Explorer programme as the three-satellite Swarm mission is planned to be launched in summer 2012. Eurockot currently has a backlog of four launches between 2012 and 2014 for ESA.
For further information please contact at Eurockot:
Director Marketing and Sales
Eurockot Launch Services GmbH
28361 Bremen / Germany
Phone +49 - 421 - 539 6512
For more information on GMES please browse the ESA Living Planet GMES website www.esa.int/esaLP/LPgmes.html