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Thales Alenia Space, the cornerstone of Europe's Copernicus program

The watchword for 2015 is "climate". Three satellites built by Thales Alenia Space, dedicated to climate change, oceanography and environmental management, will soon be launched: MSG-4 in July, Jason-3 in August and Sentinel-3A the following autumn. On June 23, Europe celebrated the launch of Sentinel-2A, the first optical Earth observation satellite in the Copernicus program endorsed by the European Commission; Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for the Sentinal-2A ground segment, on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Sentinel-2 is an optical imaging mission comprising two satellites, designed to map changes on the Earth's surface, identify areas of pollution in lakes and coastal waters, and help manage the risks of natural disasters, while also facilitating humanitarian rescue operations.  

As prime contractor for the ground segment on Sentinel-2, the second mission in the Copernicus program, Thales Alenia Space leads a consortium comprising four industrial partners: Thales Services, CS, ACS and DEIMOS. The ground segment (S2-Payload Data Ground Segment), a state-of-the-art system distributed over six centers, is designed to produce, distribute and store large volumes of image products.

Thales Alenia Space capitalized on 25 years of experience in observation system ground segments, especially on the Envisat and MetOp programs, to handle this mission.

The S2-PDGS development contract, awarded to Thales Alenia Space by ESA back in 2011, will also include operational support. The advanced ground segment functions will allow Thales Alenia Space to provide professional users with image data (L1C level) just a few days after the launch.

Copernicus: 1 program, 6 missions


The family of “Sentinels” comprises six series of satellites or instruments: Sentinel-1 will ensure continuity with the radar data from ERS and Envisat; Sentinel-2 and -3 are dedicated to surveillance of land and oceans; The Sentinel-4 and -5 instruments are designed for meteorology and climatology missions; and Sentinel-6 will provide operational continuity with the Jason altimetry missions. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for the Sentinel-1 and -3 missions (each including 2 satellites), and also provides the ground segment on the second mission, and two instruments for Sentinel-6.