Arianespace to orbit THEOS-2 for Airbus Defence and Space on its Vega/Vega C launcher
(12 September 2018 - Arianespace) Arianespace announced today that it will orbit THEOS-2, the very-high-resolution Earth observation optical satellite for Thailand, under the terms of a turnkey contract between Airbus Defence and Space and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of Thailand (GISTDA).
Using a Vega or Vega C rocket, this Earth observation mission will be conducted from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, from 2021.
THEOS-2 is a very-high-resolution Earth observation optical satellite, part of the next-generation national geo-information system provided by Airbus Defence and Space to support the Kingdom of Thailand’s key development priorities. This end-to-end system will make Thailand one of the few nations in the world able to fully exploit geo-information for societal benefits.
As an optical satellite system delivering 0.5-meter ground resolution imagery, THEOS-2 is based on Airbus’ innovative, flight-proven AstroBus-S platform. It will secure the service continuity of THEOS-1, an Airbus-built satellite launched in 2008, which continues to deliver high-quality imagery five years after its expected end of life. With the AstroBus-S satellite, Thailand is joining a small circle of nations with sovereign access to very high-resolution geostrategic information.
Built by Airbus Defence and Space, THEOS-2 will weigh about 450 kg. at launch and is designed for a nominal service life of at least 10 years once injected into a sun-synchronous orbit at approximately 620 km.
The light-lift Vega and Vega C are both part of the Arianespace’s family of launch vehicles, alongside the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the medium-lift Soyuz, operated from the Guiana Space Center. Vega C is Vega’s next-generation vehicle for flights with small to medium-sized satellite payloads whose entry into service is scheduled on 2019. To meet the needs of an increasingly dynamic market segment, Vega C will offer Arianespace customers enhanced payload performance thanks to its improved lift capability, along with increased volume under the payload fairing. Avio, based in Colleferro Italy, is the industrial prime contractor for Vega and Vega C.
Following the signature of this contract, Philippe Pham, Senior Vice President Earth observation, Navigation & Science of Airbus Defence and Space said: “We are very proud to have been selected by the Kingdom of Thailand for the THEOS-2 satellite. We are glad to continue the long term partnership between Airbus and Vega, the most reliable and versatile launcher in its class.”
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said: “We are delighted that Airbus Defense and Space has chosen the Vega system to orbit THEOS-2, an advanced observation satellite for the Kingdom of Thailand. Arianespace is proud to contribute to a strengthening of this country’s observation capabilities. THEOS-2 joins the long list of satellites in our backlog built by our customer and partner Airbus Defence and Space, along with the VD-20 satellites, the first commercial contract signed for Vega-C last year. THEOS-2 illustrates again the perfect adaptation of Vega and Vega C to the dynamic Earth observation market.”
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 570 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.