• Airbus Defence and Space selected as prime contractor for the ESA Sentinel 5 Precursor mission
• Low-cost atmospheric chemistry satellite to ensure continuity of data for European GMES programme
• €45.5 million contract value
London, 8 December 2011 – Airbus Defence and Space has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (S5p) a low-cost mission to monitor atmospheric chemistry. The contract was signed in the presence of Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General, David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, and David Williams, CEO of the UK Space Agency. With this €45.5 million contract, Airbus Defence and Space builds upon its Earth observation heritage.
S5p is part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme (GMES), which is a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). Under GMES, S5p is a high-performance, single satellite, low-cost mission that will bridge the observation gap predicted for when the current atmospheric chemistry measuring satellites ENVISAT and ERS-2 reach the end of their operations.
With a launch scheduled for early 2015 and a seven year lifetime, S5p will maintain the continuity of science data before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational towards the end of this decade. The Sentinel 5 instrument is scheduled to fly on the MetOp Second Generation satellites in a polar orbit.
The TROPOMI (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) instrument, developed by Airbus Defence and Space’s subsidiary Dutch Space for ESA and the Netherlands Space Office, will take measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and other atmospheric pollutants at a higher resolution than existing instruments. Having more accurate atmospheric data will enable improved climate models and weather forecasting.
“The Sentinel-5 Precursor mission is fantastic news for Airbus Defence and Space as it was won in open competition in a tough environment. Not only is it the first ESA prime contract won by Airbus Defence and Space in the UK for seven years, it is also ESA’s current GMES first low cost satellite programme. The mission will ensure that Europe retains the ability to monitor atmospheric pollutants before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational,” said Colin Paynter, Head of Airbus Defence and Space UK.
The GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment & Security) programme was created by the European Commission with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). It aims to supply geo-information products and services based on the use of images from space that will help European institutions and public authorities to fulfil their mission of safeguarding the civil population, managing risks, and protecting the environment.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe and the third in the world for space technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.
In 2010, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.
AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.
Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK) Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR) Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER) Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP) Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41