An EO Contract Received by QinetiQ from ESA for Smallsat Development

QinetiQ’s space business has confirmed it has secured a major new contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to extend Europe’s capabilities in operational Earth Observation (EO).

The new 75 million euros contract will see the company develop and assemble the ALTIUS satellite at its new state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities in Kruibeke, in Belgium.

The Atmospheric Limb Tracker for Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere (ALTIUS) is a satellite mission that will monitor and map the distribution and evolution of stratospheric ozone at a very high vertical resolution. Due for launch from French Guyana by the end of 2023, the satellite will use advanced spectral imaging technologies to monitor the Earth’s atmospheric limb in the Near Ultraviolet, Visible, and Near Infrared spectral regions.

Artistic rendition of the ALTIUS satellite.

Image is courtesy of the European Space Agency.

ALTIUS is under the ESA Earth Watch Program, with the objective of developing new scientific EO satellite missions and data exploitation schemes to advance science and knowledge of the planet.

The ALTIUS satellite will be built on QinetiQ’s versatile P200 platform, the latest generation of the highly successful PROBA platform. It has demonstrated excellent performance on previous space missions and accumulated more than 35 years in orbit.

The new satellite will also feature QinetiQ’s ADPMS-3 avionics, two deployable solar wings and a propulsion system that will allow for orbit maintenance and will de-orbit at the end of its life. The mission lifetime is envisaged to be of minimum 3 years.

Pictured is an engineering view of QuinetiQ’s P200 platform.

Photo is courtesy of the company.

Jim Graham, Managing Director of QinetiQ’s space business, said the company is delighted to be playing such a key role on this important program. Detailed monitoring of stratospheric ozone is vital and will support both broader operational services as well as long-term trend monitoring and scientific understanding of the atmosphere to help address serious concerns about the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

By also measuring greenhouse gasses, it will help to produce definitive atmospheric models to support more informed decision-making. Securing this significant contract is a great way to start an exciting new decade for space exploration and observation, and reflects the firm’s capabilities and experience as a prime – managing a consortium of companies from Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, and Romania – and reliable systems integrator for delivering effective end-to-end mission solutions.

Posted in News.