Sofradir to Supply IR Detectors for European Earth Observation Mission

(Paris, France, January 26, 2010) -- Sofradir, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space and industrial applications, announced today that it has been awarded an additional EUR 2.5 million contract to provide a second batch of 15 micron pitch multi-linear shortwave infrared (SWIR) arrays for the space-borne Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative. GMES is a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). The new order follows a previous EUR 6.7 million contract awarded to Sofradir by Astrium SAS, a worldwide supplier of satellite and space equipment, to custom-design a three-band SWIR for the GMES Sentinel-2 mission. The high levels of reliability and performance Sofradir achieved with the first batch delivered to Astrium brought about a decision for Sofradir to supply more units. These IR detectors, based on Sofradir's Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) technology, are replacing a competing technology previously used in European space projects. The multi-linear SWIR arrays are for the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), an earth observation instrument onboard each of the Sentinel-2 satellites. "This subsequent contract is a direct result of the high levels of satisfaction we received on the three-band SWIR detector we custom-designed for the GMES Sentinel-2 mission," said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO at Sofradir. "Getting the go ahead to supply more IR detectors of this caliber for the Sentinel-2 satellite is a clear demonstration of the confidence our customers have in our products and marks another step forward for Sofradir in the space market. We are delighted with the outcome." Sofradir will start delivering flight models for the two Sentinel satellites by mid 2010. Sofradir is involved in a growing number of satellite and space missions, covering applications such as earth mapping, environment and disaster monitoring, meteorology and planet exploration. Sofradir's MCT IR detectors are in orbit in the Helios IIA and IIB, French military earth observation satellites the latter of which was launched last December. Performance tests conducted in early January show that the IR detectors are performing very well. Sofradir's IR detectors are also being used on the European Space Agency Venus Express satellites and the French MoD SPIRALE satellites. Its detectors for Japanese space agency (JAXA) SGLI/G-COM (Second Generation GLI/Global Change Observation Mission) are presently in the Engineering Model phase.

Source: Sofradir
Date: Jan 27, 2010