Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thales-Alenia Start Turkish Spy Satellite Program

Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space today announced the official start of the Göktürk observation satellite system for the Turkish Ministry of Defense. The original contract was signed by Telespazio and the Turkish Defense Ministry in 2009, and the programme now officially enters the design and construction phase. Satellite launch is planned for 2013.

Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, is the prime contractor for the system, which comprises an Earth observation satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical sensor, a satellite integration and test center to be built in Turkey, and the complete ground segment, in charge of mission control, in-orbit operation, data acquisition and processing. Local industrial partners include Tai A.S., Aselsan A.S., Tubitak Uekae, Roketsan A.S. and TR Tecnoloji.

Telespazio will also create a joint venture with a local partner to develop and market application services.

Carlo Gualdaroni, CEO of Telespazio, said: “The Göktürk System represents another step forward for Telespazio and for the Space Alliance between Finmeccanica and Thales in the international expansion of their business. It also clearly recognizes Telespazio’s ability to supply both the space and ground segments of complex satellite systems.”

Thales Alenia Space will build the satellite and develop an integration and test center in Turkey. Telespazio, in addition to the ground segment, is responsible for services during the satellite launch, early orbit and test phase. Turkish industry will be involved in the system design and development, as well as supplying some Göktürk system components. In particular, local partners will assist in the construction of the data acquisition station, the satellite integration center, mission planning systems and remote sensing data processors.

Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space said: “Our selection to build the Göktürk satellite is a significant achievement for our company, and reflects the strategy we have developed with Telespazio, through the Space Alliance, to offer end-to-end solutions for the space market, ranging from complete systems to services.

“This success also expands our position in Turkey, a long-standing customer in telecommunications. This is our first export contract for a high-resolution optical observation satellite, further showing our unique array of expertise and reputation as a preferred partner in defense observation missions.”

Derived from the Proteus platform developed by Thales Alenia Space, the Göktürk satellite will include a high-resolution optical instrument, similar to that used in the Pleiades program.

Telespazio, a joint venture between Finmeccanica (67%) and Thales (33%), is a world leader in satellite services: from management of satellites to Earth observation services, from satellite navigation to broadband multimedia telecommunications. The company in 2009 generated sales of Euro 372 million, and employed around 2,000 staff.

European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ “Space Alliance”. The company, which achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2008, has a total of 7,200 employees located in 11 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

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