Chilean government representatives travelled to Airbus Defence and Space’s Toulouse site to officially acknowledge the completion of their SSOT (Sistema satelital de Observación de la Tierra) satellite.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Messrs Raúl Vergara, Under Secretary for Aviation from the Republic of Chile’s Ministry of Defence (Subsecretario de Aviación), and General Manuel Quiñones, SSOT Programme Technical Director (Fuerza Aérea de Chile – Chilean Air Force), along with Messrs Jean-Jacques Duhart (Under Secretary for Economy and Director of the Chilean Space Agency) and Jaime Chomali (Chargé d’Affaires at the Chilean Embassy in Paris).
For Airbus Defence and Space, this ceremony marks the successful end of a satellite development programme completed in just 18 months as per the specifications, a record for a satellite of such precision, capable of delivering 1.5-m resolution images.
The SSOT Earth observation system, which is designed for dual civil and defence applications, comprises a satellite equipped with a new-generation optical camera, ground control and image processing segment, and a comprehensive training programme relating to satellite in-orbit operations for the Chilean teams.
During the summer and autumn of 2009, the ground segment was installed in Santiago, where Airbus Defence and Space has nearly completed the last phase of training activities for Chilean operators. The contract for supply of the high-resolution SSOT space system was signed by the Chilean government and Airbus Defence and Space on 25 July 2008.
For Jean Dauphin, Airbus Defence and Space’s Director of Earth Observation and Science, France, “This achievement demonstrates Airbus Defence and Space’s ability to produce space systems which are competitive on the export market in record time. Moreover, the commitment, enthusiasm and competence of the Chilean teams greatly facilitated the transfer of knowledge needed to use the system.”
“A major milestone in the programme has been met with success, and we are very pleased,” said Mr Vergara, who underlined the importance of this space programme for Chile.
The satellite will be stored at Airbus Defence and Space’s Toulouse site until it is transported to Kourou, French Guiana, for launch aboard a Soyuz rocket.