First Spanish radar Earth observation satellite
On 7 June, Airbus Defence and Space held an event at its Barajas site near Madrid to present the PAZ satellite to senior government figures, space industry representatives and the media. The PAZ radar satellite is part of the Spanish National Earth Observation Programme (PNOT) developed by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
The event was attended by the Spanish Defence Minister, Carme Chacón, the Secretary of State for Defence, Constantino Méndez, and the Secretary of State for Industry, Teresa Santero, as well as various representatives of the Spanish Armed Forces, political groups and industry.
Following completion of the platform integration at Airbus Defence and Space’s Friedrichshafen site in Germany, the hexagonal platform – based on the structure of Airbus Defence and Space’s TerraSAR-X satellite – was transported to Madrid for integration of the radar instrument which is being developed at the Barajas site. This presentation of the satellite marks the official start of the radar integration phase.
As the satellite’s prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space Spain has participated in the development of the platform both through its project team in Madrid and through staff seconded to Germany.
The Barajas site is also currently engaged in building the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instrument which will be integrated with the platform during the next 12 months. The instrument will make use of a new, advanced radar antenna developed by Airbus Defence and Space Spain which incorporates multilayer printed circuit technology.
PAZ – the first Spanish radar observation satellite – will provide tactical information from space that notably meets the country’s government’s defence and security needs, thanks to its ability to obtain images in all weathers, day and night.
The complete satellite has an estimated mass of 1,400 kilograms and will be five metres high and 2.4 metres in diameter. It will also carry two secondary instruments: the Radio Occultation and Heavy Precipitation Experiment and an Automatic Ship Identification System.
The PAZ satellite is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2012. Once in orbit, the imaging satellite will be able to function in any type of weather conditions, day and night. It will provide around 100 images a day, covering an area of more than 300,000 km2.
PAZ will be owned and operated by Hisdesat.
The other satellite in the PNOT Programme is INGENIO, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, for which Airbus Defence and Space España is also the prime contractor. This second satellite will have an optical instrument and will mainly serve a civil purpose. The Spanish National Earth Observation Programme will help to improve the natural resource management, the fight against climate change, infrastructure planning, and control and monitoring of natural disasters such as forest fires. The programme will give Spain a fully independent operational satellite observation capability.
Together, these two satellites will enable global observation for multiple applications.
Antonio Cuadrado, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space Spain, stated: “Airbus Defence and Space’s role on the INGENIO and PAZ satellites – which form part of the Spanish National Earth Observation Programme – strengthens Airbus Defence and Space’s position in Spain as a satellite prime contractor.”