Astrium wins �38m space contract

A satellite company has secured a �38m contract with the European Space Agency.

Major Stevenage employer Astrium has been selected by the agency as the prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite which will be used to monitor atmospheric chemistry.

The contract was signed in the presence of Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General, David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, and David Williams, CEO of the UK Space Agency.

The satellite is due for launch in 2015 into a polar orbit and will provide environmental data including levels of pollutants in the atmosphere to the European science community for seven years. The information will help scientists build more accurate climate models and weather forecasting.

Colin Paynter, head of Astrium UK said it was fantastic news for the company.

“Not only is it the first ESA prime contract won by Astrium in the UK for seven years, it is also ESA’s current Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme’s first low cost satellite. The mission will ensure that Europe retains the ability to monitor atmospheric pollutants before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational.”

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