Thales Alenia Space España has announced the delivery of the X-band images communications system for the INGENIO satellite, the first Spanish Earth observation satellite. This system acts as a ‘voice’ of the satellite, transmitting to Earth stations images and data generated on board by their instruments, thus enabling the essential function of the mission.

The satellite, scheduled for launch in 2014, is owned by the Spanish Ministry of Industry. The program is managed by the European Space Agency (ESA) as delegated by the Centre for Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), and is being developed within the National Programme for Earth Observation Satellite (PNOT), with a majority participation of the domestic industry. With a service lifetime of seven years, INGENIO will be oriented to provide civilian users with observation services.

The X-band communication system is in charge of sending data and images captured by the optical instrument. Thanks to its very high data transmission speed (280 Mb/s), it facilitates a large volume of images from its orbital altitude of between 600 and 700 km to ground stations. It can transmit up to 100 images with a resolution between 2.5 and 10 m per pixel and the data is downloaded (on passes of 10 minutes) at receiving antennas located in two control Earth stations: Maspalomas (Gran Canaria) and Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid). 

Thales Alenia Space España will complete its activities with the provision of test benches, which are an essential for simulation and, on the ground, ensure the proper functioning of the various systems once on board the satellite.

"We are proud to provide our communications systems to the first Spanish observation satellite," said Juan Garcés de Marcilla, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space España, in addition also the company also expressed, "its satisfaction with this national project which allows us to demonstrate the technological capabilities of our company and the Spanish space industry in general terms.”