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Thales gets go ahead for 1.3 billion euro weather satellite

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 19, 2010
Thales Alenia Space said Friday it had received the go ahead from the European Space Agency to proceed with a 1.3-billion-euro contract to build a system of third generation weather satellites.

The first of the six satellites in the contract worth nearly 1.8 billion dollars is set to be launched in 2017 and ensure weather data until 2037.

The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) System, which the ESA is funding in cooperation with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), is to include four imaging satellites that will also be able to detect lightning.

Two sounding satellites with infrared and ultraviolet capabilities will for the first time give a view into the chemical composition of each layer of the atmosphere, which will also be useful for monitoring climate change, said Thales Alenia Space and the ESA.

Thales Alenia Space, which is owned by French electronics group Thales and Italy's Finmeccanica, is the prime contractor for the project. Germany's OHB System is a main subcontractor.

"We are extremely happy and proud to meet the challenge of building the most ambitious geostationary satellites ever developed in Europe, and thank ESA and Eumetsat for their confidence," Thales Alenia Space President and CEO Reynald Seznec said in a statement.

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