Astrium team to build Sentinel-2

Astrium has been appointed by ESA to be the prime contractor to build Sentinel-2, the first optical satellite in the Sentinel series.

The main industrial contract worth €195m was signed yesterday by Volker Liebig, ESA´s director of Earth observation at ESA, Evert Dudok, CEO Astrium Satellites and Uwe Minne, Astrium´s director of Earth Observation and Science in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

According to Astrium, Sentinel-2 will provide a permanent record of comprehensive data to help inform the agricultural and forestry industry sectors as well as disaster control and humanitarian relief programmes. Sentinel-2 will also be able to observe natural disasters such as floods, volcanic eruptions, subsidence and landslides.

In the Sentinel-2 mission programme, Astrium in Friedrichshafen will be responsible for the satellite’s system design and platform, as well as for satellite integration and testing. Astrium Toulouse will supply the multi-spectral imaging instrument (MSI), and Astrium Spain will take control of the satellite’s structure and will produce its thermal equipment and cable harness. The industrial core team also comprises Germany’s Jena Optronik, France’s Boostec, and Spain’s Sener and GMV.

Sentinel-2 is intended to image the Earth’s landmasses from its orbit for at least 7.25 years. In addition, its on-board resources will be designed so that the mission can be prolonged by an extra five years. From 2012 onwards, the 1.1-metric-ton satellite will circle the Earth in a sun-synchronous, polar orbit at an altitude of 786km, fully covering the planet’s landmasses in ten days. Its multi-spectral instrument (MSI) will generate optical images in 13 spectral channels in the visible and short wave infrared range down to a resolution of 10m with an image width of 290km.

In the future it is planned to extend the overall Sentinel-2 system by a second satellite, so that by operating the two satellites simultaneously, it will be possible to cover the planet’s landmass every five days.