ESA chooses infrared sensors from Sofradir for European Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellite

CHATENAY-MALABRY, France, 16 Dec. 2011. Satellite designers at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris needed infrared (IR) detectors for the European Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellite. They found their solution from Sofradir SAS in Chatenay-Malabry, France. Sofradir won a contract from the ESA worth "tens of millions of euros" for IR detectors for the engineering and flight model phases of the next-generation European meteorological satellites. Sofradir's MTG sensor contract follows last week's announcement of a MTG sensor contract by e2v Technologies plc in Chelmsford, England.

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CHATENAY-MALABRY, France, 16 Dec. 2011. Satellite designers at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris needed infrared detectors for the European Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellite. They found their solution from Sofradir SAS in Chatenay-Malabry, France.Sofradir won a contract from the ESA worth "tens of millions of euros" for space infrared sensors for the engineering and flight model phases of the next-generation European meteorological satellites, company officials say. No exact amount was released. Sofradir's MTG sensor contract follows last week's announcement of a MTG sensor contract by e2v Technologies plc in Chelmsford, England.Sofradir's MTG infrared sensor project is the company's biggest-ever contract, Sofradir officials say. "We've seen our satellite business triple in the last five years, as Earth observation spacecraft use more infrared imaging and multispectral equipment that increasingly require visible and IR products," says Philippe Bensussan, chairman and chief executive officer at Sofradir.

ESA officials plan to launch six satellites under the MTG program. The prime contractor for the MTG satellites is Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France.

Sofradir will deliver to Thales Alenia Space custom-designed IR detectors for two MTG payloads: the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) to take IR images of clouds, and the InfraRed Sounder (IRS) to analyze the chemical composition of the atmosphere versus altitude. The Sofradir IR sensors will operate wavelengths that extend from short wave infrared (SWIR) to very long wave infrared (VLWIR) to identify and measure various types of clouds and chemical elements. In total, Sofradir will develop six different types of detectors.

Sofradir's MCT IR technology is applicable in all wavelengths from the visible to very long wave IR, so company engineers can use one production line to manufacture IR detectors in different wavelengths, and supply IR detectors in large volume production and customized designs efficiently, company officials say.

For more information contact Sofradir online at www.sofradir.com, the European Space Agency at www.esa.int, or Thales Alenia Space at www.thalesgroup.com.

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