Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, and OHB System AG (Bremen, Germany) have signed a contract for the development, construction and launch of a high performance radar satellite for the ‘SARah’ satellite-based reconnaissance system, for a total value of €344 million.
The contract also covers the provision of all necessary components for the ground segment to ensure the image production process, from requesting images through to final delivery is fully operational from the end of 2019.
The overall SARah system consists of three satellites and two ground stations. The space segment consists of two satellites equipped with the reflector technology from OHB, and a third satellite, equipped with Astrium’s proven phased-array technology, currently operating perfectly in orbit on the civil satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X.
The term ‘phased-array’ is used to describe phase-controlled antennas made up of numerous individual transmitter/receiver modules which can be interconnected, bundled and variably controlled. This enables direction and range of view to be adjusted without needing to move the antennas mechanically, thus providing the user with rapid image sequencing, variable image sizes and ‘blur-free’ recordings.
“This is the first time that Astrium is supplying an Earth observation satellite to the German Armed Forces – and in addition it will be equipped with the latest technology, namely the ultra-high performance active phased-array. Not only will this significantly enhance the German Forces’ capabilities, it also helps better position Germany industrially for the future,” said Evert Dudok, Head of Astrium in Germany, at the contract’s signing.