The European Space Agency's Sentinel-1A satellite, designed and built by Thales Alenia Space, was successfully launched from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, using a Soyuz-Fregat A launcher.
Sentinel-1A is the first satellite in Europe's vast Earth Observation program Copernicus (formerly known as GMES), coordinated by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency (ESA) in charge of the space component. It is designed to give Europe complete independence in the acquisition and management of environmental data concerning our planet, to support Europe's public policies.
Thales Alenia Space was named prime contractor for the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3 missions, with responsibility for the design, development, integration and testing of the satellites comprising these systems.
“The success of this first Copernicus launch is particularly important for Thales Alenia Space," said Elisio Prette, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space Italy, "since it further confirms our company’s recognized expertise in the construction of Earth observation satellites based on radar technology. Thales Alenia Space has once again shown that it has the skills and expertise to meet the technological challenges of this program, underscoring our company’s pivotal role and our perfect fit with Europe's strategic vision for space."
Thales Alenia Space successful references in Radar Earth observation
The company’s expertise is largely recognized in international markets, and has led to collaborative missions outside Europe, including with South Korea (Kompsat 5), India (Saral), Canada (Radarsat 2) and the United States (Topex, Jason, Calipso, GFO-RA), Russia (Sadko).
Thales Alenia Space is making a major contribution to Copernicus as prime contractor for the Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 3 satellites. At the same time, Thales Alenia Space continues to explore the vast possibilities offered by its advanced technologies to develop new applications: for instance, taking a closer look at the carbon cycle, another key factor in climate change.
Regarding defense or dual-use missions, Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for the Italian dual radar observation system, Cosmo SkyMed. A four-satellite constellation, the Cosmo-SkyMed system delivers data to government, military and private users. The system is now totally operational and has reached its optimum image acquisition capacity of about 1,800 images/day, day or night and in all weather conditions. These capabilities make the Italian observation system one of the most advanced and reliable systems of this type in the world. Thales Alenia Space is also developing COSMO New Generation.
Thales Alenia Space is the acknowledged European expert in high-resolution radar imaging. The company supplied the electronics for the radar instruments on the SAR-Lupe constellation of five satellites, which delivers high-resolution images of the Earth to the German Ministry of Defense.