Thales-Built Sentinel-1A ready for launch

The European Space Agency's Sentinel-1A satellite, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space, is ready to be launched from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, using a Soyuz-Fregat A launcher.

Sentinel-1A is the first satellite in Europe's vast Earth Observation program Copernicus (formerly known as GMES), coordinated by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency (ESA) in charge of the space component. It is designed to give Europe complete independence in the acquisition and management of environmental data concerning our planet, to support Europe's public policies.

Thales Alenia Space was named prime contractor for the Sentinel-1, with responsibility for the design, development, integration and testing of the satellites comprising these systems.

The Sentinel-1A satellite was built and integrated at the Thales Alenia Space plant in Rome, while the basic technologies, like the T/R modules and the Front End Electronics for the C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar antenna, as well as the advanced data management and transmission subsystems and the on-board computer, were developed at the Italian sites in L’Aquila and Milan. The T/R modules and the Front End Electronics are the “heart” of the C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar antenna developed by AIRBUS Defence & Space on Thales Alenia Space Italia specifications.

The satellite also completed its final verification tests at Thales Alenia Space's clean rooms in Rome and Cannes.

Italy plays a key role in the Copernicus program, with backing from the Italian space agency, ASI, which has supported the country's broad commitment to Earth observation programs. Copernicus also benefits from the excellent results of the Cosmo-SkyMed program, which demonstrated the Italian space agency’s vision and the country's cutting-edge technical expertise.

Based on the Prima platform, developed by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of the Italian Space Agency, Sentinel-1A will weigh approximately 2,200 kg at launch. It will observe the Earth from an altitude of 700 km, with a resolution between 5 and 25 meters, depending on the operating mode. The satellite will continuously provide users with images, taken day and night, under all weather conditions.

Data from the Sentinel-1A satellite will be collected by various European centers, and in Italy by the ground station at the e-GEOS space center in Matera (e-GEOS is an 80/20 joint venture of Telespazio and the Italian space agency).

The main goals of the Sentinel-1 mission are: mapping of urban areas, observing environmental impact, monitoring risks due to movements in the Earth’s surface, surveillance of the marine environment, maritime security, sea ice monitoring, monitoring of forests and climate change.

ESA is developing five Sentinel satellite families for the Copernicus program: Sentinel-1 is designed to ensure the continuity of ERS and Envisat radar data.

The second satellite in this mission, Sentinel-1B, is scheduled for delivery to ESA during the last quarter of 2015. It is now being integrated at Thales Alenia Space’s Integration Center in Rome, while the Sentinel-3A satellite, for which Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor, is about to complete its initial integration and test phase.

Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Apr 1, 2014