Mr Jean-Marie Luton, Director General of ESA, and Mr Alain Delecroix, Chief Executive of Thomson CSF/Services et Systemes Sol Spatiaux (T4S) at Thomson-CSF (F), signed the contract for development of the ENVISAT-1 Payload Data Segment (PDS) today at ESRIN, ESA's Earth Observation Missions Exploitation Centre in Frascati, Italy.
ENVISAT-1, ESA's most ambitious and complex satellite, to be launched in mid-1999, will be the successor to the ERS Earth observation satellites. Carrying on from the ERS-1 and ERS-2 missions, it will provide the user community with enhanced observation of the Earth and its environment in the field of atmospheric constituents and Earth-surface features, maintaining the flow of data well into the next century.
This contract covers the development and installation of the data management, data acquisition, data processing and corresponding user service interfaces at the two ESA sites involved, ESRIN in Italy and the Kiruna/Salmij station in Sweden.
It also includes the development of units to be used by national facilities which will make up the ENVISAT PDS network providing data archiving, offline processing and distribution of data to users.
The contract, the largest ever signed by ESA with industry for ground segment investments, is worth some 75 million ECU, and several European and Canadian companies are associated with it in support of Thomson-CSF, the main contractor.
A significant proportion of the development work and most of the integration activities are to be performed by Italian companies.