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Astrium and Hisdesat to establish radar satellite constellation to improve coverage and access
by Staff Writers
Paris (SPX) Apr 30, 2012


The constellation approach will also provide improved system redundancy and back-up for both satellites in case of maintenance phases.

Astrium Services and Hisdesat, the Spanish government satellite service operator, have signed a framework agreement for a joint technology development project with the aim of establishing a constellation approach for the radar satellites TerraSAR-X and PAZ.

The German satellite TerraSAR-X, launched in 2007, reliably delivers high-resolution radar data for versatile applications to worldwide customers. PAZ is the first Spanish radar satellite designed as a dual use (military and civilian) mission to meet operational requirements in the field of high resolution (up to 1 meter) observation.

PAZ is scheduled for launch in 2013 into a polar orbit, which will be specifically optimised to improve the time to get images over key areas of interest when combining TerraSAR-X and PAZ into a constellation.

Operating these two virtually identical satellites in a constellation will afford Astrium and Hisdesat with a more flexible capacity management of their systems. The company's customers and partners will benefit from enhanced performance and service levels thanks to improved revisit time, service reliability and increased data acquisition capabilities.

The constellation approach will also provide improved system redundancy and back-up for both satellites in case of maintenance phases.

A wide range of time-critical and data-intensive applications will benefit from this constellation approach, such as precise monitoring and faster detection of surface movement activities:

+ Defence and security: reduced lead times and a reliable, faster coverage of critical areas of interest and hot spots will facilitate improved support to operational missions worldwide.

+ Surface movement monitoring: engineering and mining companies will be able to efficiently monitor and manage their operations and reduce risks to workers on the ground.

+ Maritime surveillance: applications such as ship detection, oil pollution monitoring and sea ice observation will benefit from improved revisit times and increased data acquisition capabilities.

+ Humanitarian organisations and crisis intervention: faster and assured access to data over the affected areas supporting the efficient coordination and management of rescue and relief activities.

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