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. Astrium Purchases Majority Share In Spot Image

The Infoterra Group and Spot Image will work together within the Earth Observation Division of Astrium Services
by Staff Writers
Farnborough, UK (SPX) Jul 16, 2008
Astrium has announced the purchase of further shares in Spot Image from the French Space Agency (CNES). This is a significant deal resulting in Astrium holding 81% of Spot Image and therefore becoming the majority shareholder.

As part of Astrium, Infoterra and Spot Image will work together within the Earth Observation Division of Astrium Services. This purchase reaffirms Astrium's commitment to strengthening its presence in the entire Earth observation value chain - satellites, spaceborne and airborne data, ground segment, application solutions and information management and distribution.

With the Earth observation industry undergoing significant change, Astrium Services' growth strategy, consistent with EADS' objectives to strengthen its services portfolio, will offer real opportunities for Spot Image and Infoterra.

Earth observation services, combined with other components of Astrium Services (secure telecommunications and navigation), will help create integrated capabilities to address new markets and deliver additional value across the business.

"Taking the majority stake in Spot Image is in line with Astrium's strategic initiatives to build a strong European group acting internationally," said Eric Beranger, CEO of Astrium Services.

"Broadly, our objective by bringing together application and service activities, is to significantly develop this business area by demonstrating the benefits that geo-information can bring for monitoring and managing the Earth's assets. In short, a full range of Earth observation solutions enables leaders to make better decisions about our world."

Spot Image has achieved commercial success for more than 20 years, delivering satellite-based geographic information and services. This is the longest track record of all satellite operators in the Earth observation industry.

As a world leader, Spot Image has continually adapted its products and services to deliver solutions to meet the needs of customers - both public and private - on all continents. Today, users benefit from a wide range of satellite data, receiving and processing infrastructures, and value-added solutions.

"The Earth observation market has shifted in the past years from an industry dominated by a small number of experts to a truly commercial, competitive market serving operational applications," said Herve Buchwalter, CEO of Spot Image.

"The change to Spot Image's shareholding will reinforce the company's ability to launch new programmes underpinned by a PPP logic driven by private investors. So continuing our commitment to support the development of space services and deliver additional benefits to our customers."

As the exclusive operator of the SPOT optical satellite constellation and strategic partner for other satellites, (the Korean 1 metre KOMPSAT-2, the Taiwanese 2 metre FORMOSAT-2 and others), Spot Image, and its 5 subsidiaries, offer the most comprehensive range of satellite data and services in the market.

Spot Image is preparing for the planned launch of the Pleiades constellation (2 agile, 50 cm resolution optical satellites) in 2010 and the development of a high resolution sensor to ensure SPOT 5 service continuity beyond 2012.

Already, Spot Image and Infoterra Group enjoy a privileged relationship through the development of joint products and services in many sectors such as, mapping, security, agriculture and telecommunications.

This collaboration has recently been reinforced with the start of Infoterra's commercial business operations for the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, which paves the way for developing and marketing new combined optical-radar offerings.

Spot Image will remain an independent French company with its individual brand and unique long-standing relationships with direct receiving stations, value-added resellers and distributors worldwide.

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Wilkins Ice Shelf Hanging By Its Last Thread
Paris, France (ESA) Jul 15, 2008
The Wilkins Ice Shelf is experiencing further disintegration that is threatening the collapse of the ice bridge connecting the shelf to Charcot Island. Since the connection to the island in the image centre helps to stabilise the ice shelf, it is likely the break-up of the bridge will put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk.

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