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Thursday, January 04, 2007

First German Reconnaissance Satellite Boosted into Orbit

Alcatel Alenia Space | Jan 4, 2007

PARIS: The first SAR-Lupe satellite, the German reconnaissance satellite-based system, was successfully boosted into orbit today from the Plesezsk space center. Alcatel Alenia Space has supplied the Sensor Electronic units forming the core of the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), set to provide high-resolution radar imagery to the German defense forces starting in 2007.

The SAR-Lupe program comprises a constellation of five identical small satellites (770 kg – 250 W) which will be launched into 3 quasi polar orbital planes at 500 km altitude, and a ground segment. The system will have a life time of 10 years. The construction and the launch contract of the five identical satellites was awarded in 2001 to a consortium of 13 European companies led by OHB-System AG as prime contractor.

This mission is based on the most sophisticated technologies in SAR radar field, able to get images under any weather or light conditions (day or night). The system will supply recent and high definition images of virtually any region in the world. It will provide image in X-band and offer a spatial resolution of less than 1 meter. It may operate in “spot light” mode to improve the spatial resolution. Alcatel Alenia Space was responsible for the design and development of the sensor electronic units, comprising radiofrequency, processing and control sub-units.

The ground segments for SAR-Lupe and the French Helios II systems will be inter-connected, so that each country can use the other’s satellite and receive imagery. This data combination will significantly improve the reconnaissance capabilities of the two partner nations.

Alcatel Alenia Space is the European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures. Created in July 2005, the company brings together the vast experience and know-how of Alcatel Space and Alenia Spazio to form a new leading force in European space technology. Alcatel Alenia Space sets the global standard for space developments that impact everybody’s future: from navigation to telecommunications, from meteorology to environmental monitoring, from defense to science and observation.
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