Airbus Defence and Space

OURSES: 24-hour satellite surveillance for patients in rural areas

Castres, 16 July, 2009 – Airbus Defence and Space’s OURSES (French acronym for “satellite services offer for use in rural areas”) project has received top prize at the first e-health awards held in Castres.

The prize was awarded by the association La Mêlée Numérique in partnership with the Castres-Mazamet technology park. The aim of Ourses is to ensure the provision and use of online services in areas that still do not have high-speed internet access. To evaluate the solutions’ performances, the project was trialled in the field of medical care with outstanding results.

  • Airbus Defence and Space’s OURSES project is offering innovative and effective satellite applications for medical care services
  • This non-intrusive system facilitates the work of medical staff and improves the quality of care for patients in rural areas

A video link with doctors

The comprehensive medical care system has been installed at a residential care home for dependent elderly people in the Hautes-Pyrénées area of France and at a local doctor’s surgery. The applications developed allow nurses at the home to communicate with a doctor by video if necessary. The doctor can also download and consult the medical data collected by the system at any time.

The system has several functions, including surveillance of people at risk – such as Alzheimer’s sufferers. The system sends a warning if any incidents are detected, i.e. should the person fall, leave their room or the home, or become agitated in the night.

A new nurse’s table, equipped with a full set of medical instruments, can send the data to patients’ doctors via a wireless network and satellite link. This prevents doctors, who are often based more than 50 km away from the home, from making unnecessary journeys. Finally, an electrocardiogram system can also be used to analyse a patient’s cardiac signal and send warnings to the doctor if any anomalies are detected.


Service still in use

The services developed have received a warm welcome from medical personnel and patients alike, and have proved the capacity of space technologies to provide care to people. The local council, which has been supplied with satellite equipment and a wireless network, is sharing the cost of the high-speed internet access with villagers and has decided to prolong and maintain the service for patients. 

Airbus Defence and Space managed the project, which received contributions from the LAAS-CNRS, IMS Bordeaux, ENST-GET and TéSA research centres. The French Space Agency (CNES) and the manufacturers Thales Alenia Space, Medessat and APX-Synstar also contributed to the project.

Over a 30-month period, Ourses was co-financed by the French Finance and Industry Ministry’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (DGE), which provided €1.6 million of the project’s total €3.7 million budget. The DGE has a special fund for financing the projects of French competitive clusters. The Ourses project was approved by the Aerospace Valley global competitive cluster in 2006.

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Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2008, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.3 billion and more than 15,000 employees 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 the development and delivery of satellite services.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €43.3 billion and employed a workforce of more than 118, 000.


Press contacts:

Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                      Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Matthieu Duvelleroy (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