Thales Alenia Space selects MDA subsystems integral to satellite altimetry instruments

April 7, 2016
RICHMOND, B.C., 7 April 2016. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA; TSX:MDA), a global communications and information company in Richmond, British Columbia, won two contracts with a combined value of 4.3 million euros ($4.9 million U.S. dollars) from Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France. MDA will supply Thales Alenia Space with four subsystems to be installed on the Sentinel-6A, -6B, -3C, and -3D environmental monitoring satellites, part of Europe's Copernicus program.

RICHMOND, B.C., 7 April 2016. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA; TSX:MDA), a global communications and information company in Richmond, British Columbia, won two contracts with a combined value of 4.3 million euros ($4.9 million U.S. dollars) from Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France. MDA will supply Thales Alenia Space with four subsystems to be installed on the Sentinel-6A, -6B, -3C, and -3D environmental monitoring satellites, part of Europe's Copernicus program.

MDA will deliver subsystems central to the satellites' altimetry instruments that infuse the satellites with the capability to measure the distance from the satellite to Earth, enabling it to map ocean-surface topography, for example.

Thales Alenia Space won a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) in December 2015 to build the Copernicus Sentinel-1C and 1D environmental monitoring satellites, as part of Europe's Copernicus program.

Thales Alenia Space Italy was named prime contractor for the new satellites, as well as for the previous Sentinel-1A and 1B satellites. The company is responsible for the design, development, and integration of Copernicus the Sentinel-1C and 1D satellites, which will feature a C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), advanced data management and transmission systems, and an onboard computer. Thales Alenia Space will supply the transmission/reception (T/R) modules and the front-end electronics, the heart of the C-band SAR antenna, which will be manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space to Thales Alenia Space's specifications.
The Copernicus Sentinel-1C and 1D satellites, to be launched in 2021, are part of the Copernicus environmental monitoring and management program coordinated by the European Commission, with ESA in charge of the space segment. The Copernicus program is designed to guarantee European independence in the collection and management of data on our planet, and to support Europe's public environmental policies.
The new Sentinel-3A satellite is providing data from orbit. This very early image recorded on 3 March 2016, takes us over the River Nile and Delta and the surrounding desert areas of northeast Africa and parts of the Middle East. Very distinct is Egypt, a country connecting northeast Africa with the Middle East, home to millennia-old monuments still sitting along the lush Nile valley. In the center of the image, capital city Cairo with the Nile snaking northwards is clearly visible, along with the Red Sea just further east. Also evident are the islands of Cyprus further north in the Mediterranean Sea and parts of Crete on the very left. One of the suite of sophisticated instruments that will measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere, Sentinel-3’s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) measures the energy radiating from Earth’s surface in nine spectral bands, including visible and infrared. The instrument improves on the capabilities of the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer carried by the Envisat satellite of 2002–12, including a wider swath of 1400 km, new channels and a partly higher spatial resolution.

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide. MDA's business is focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, primarily in the Communications sector and the Surveillance and Intelligence sector. In addition, the company conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development, officials say. MDA's established global customer base is served by more than 4,800 employees operating from 11 locations in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), is a key European player in space telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, exploration and orbital infrastructures. Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio form the two parent companies' “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Because of its unrivaled expertise in dual (civil/military) missions, constellations, flexible payloads, altimetry, meteorology and high-resolution optical and radar instruments, Thales Alenia Space is the natural partner to countries that want to expand their space program. The company posted consolidated revenues in excess of 2 billion euros in 2014, and has 7,500 employees in eight countries.

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