Airbus Defence and Space

Grounding Sentinel

Not only playing a key role in the space segment for Europe’s Copernicus Earth monitoring programme, Airbus Defence and Space is priming the first of the User Ground Segments (PDGS), which has just received customer acceptance.

Building on close to 25 years’ experience in delivering major ground segments for remote-sensing satellites such as SPOT and Helios, Space Systems secured the Sentinel-1 user ground segment (S1 PDGS) contract in June 2010.

Betlem Rosich, ESA Sentinel-1 PDGS project manager, states: “For the Copernicus community, Sentinel-1 data can’t come too soon. We at ESA need to ensure the ground segment is up and running at the time of the launch and capable of sustaining the follow-on operations. Being the first of the Copernicus missions, Sentinel-1 is the focus of particular attention by ESA, the EU and the overall user community. Fulfilling these expectations is of the upmost importance. Despite the major challenges in setting-up the Sentinel-1 User Ground Segment – and thanks to the efforts of all the companies involved in its implementation, and in particular the excellent work of Airbus DS as prime contractor – the User Ground Segment is now ready for the Sentinel-1A launch.”

Via a network of receiving stations across Europe, S1 PDGS enables satellite programming and data reception, as well as image processing, archiving and calibration and delivery of images to end-users. Space Systems is additionally hosting a support centre at its Toulouse site.

Having initially won the development and handover post-launch, the company is now under contract to deliver operational support over an extended 12-month operational qualification phase. Jean Dauphin, Space Systems’ head of Earth observation, Navigation and Science satellite activities in France, stresses the importance of this project: “We are delighted that ESRIN has placed its trust in Airbus DS to deliver operations and operational support for Sentinel-1; key areas of development for our part of the business. Moreover, Copernicus is a major programme whose data will be used on an international scale and we are proud to be playing a significant part in making it happen.”

Space Systems