Status Report

EADS Astrium Spain presented the Earth observation instrument of ESA’s SMOS satellite, led by the Spanish Industry

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2005
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Madrid, April 12, 2005: SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission) is an Earth observation satellite which will enhance our knowledge of the water cycle of the planet and will allow a better understanding of the climatic changes in order to protect the environment.

The Secretary General of Industry, Mr. Joan Trullén, the Director of CDTI (Centro para el desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) Mr. Maurici Lucena, the Presidente of EADS CASA Mr. Francisco Fernández Sáinz, as well as the Managing Director of EADS Astrium Spain Mr. Pedro Méndez, chaired this event, presenting the structural and electrical models of the sole instrument on board the satellite.

EADS Astrium Spain signed the contract to build the satellite’s instrument on June of 2004 (amounting to 61 million euros, 33 of which would go to the Spanish industry), leading a team of companies of the Spanish space sector and other European countries. All of them contributing with their high technological expertise to the development of this remote sensing instrument without precedent. The project management represents a great challenge, since it must combine a large industrial array with the stringent exigencies of the scientific community.

The CDTI, an organism of the Ministry of Industry and Spanish delegation to ESA, has played a key role in the financing of this project, the one with the most important technological and industrial scope ever developed in Spain for the European Space Agency (ESA).

This project, as part of ESA ‘s second Earth Explorer mission of its Living Planet Programme, will measure the soil moisture and the salinity of the oceans by means of the radiometric instrument presented today. These two parameters are of key interest to scientists in order to prepare atmospheric, oceanographic and hydrological prediction models. Salinity for instance, influences the ocean circulation, which create weather phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña, that can cause floods or droughts. The evaporation and filtration of water depend on the degree of moisture in the soil and the water content of vegetation, which are key elements in understanding the hydrological cycle and monitoring the fresh water reserves of the planet.

The SMOS satellite will be put in orbit in March of 2007 with a Rockot launcher

EADS Astrium is the European leader in the field of satellites. Its activities also cover and navigation programmes, along with all the avionics and equipment for spacecraft. EADS Astrium is a subsidiary of EADS SPACE.

EADS SPACE is a subsidiary complete civil and military telecommunications and observation systems, scientific of EADS specialising in civil and military space systems. In 2003, it had a turnover of 2.4 billion euros and employed 12,000 people in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.

EADS is a world leader in aerospace, defence and associated services. In 2003, EADS posted a turnover of 30.1 billion euros with a workforce of more than 100,000 people.

SpaceRef staff editor.