Astrium signs major contract with Kazakhstan during President Sarkozy's visit to Astana

WASHINGTON.  October 15. KAZINFORM The partnership between Astrium and JSC NC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary (KGS), the national company charged with the development of Kazakhstan's space program, has reached another major milestone with the signature of a contract for two Earth observation satellites, and the foundation documents to create a Joint Venture for the construction of an Assembly, Integration and Test Facility in Astana.  

 * Astrium will build two Earth observation satellites for the Republic of Kazakhstan  

* This contract follows the decision of the Republic of Kazakhstan in choosing France and Astrium as strategic partners for the development of its space activities

Astrium and KGS signed the two agreements during the State visit of the French President, Mr Sarkozy, to Mr. Nazarbayev, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the 5th and 6th October.  

Francois Auque, CEO of Astrium declared after the signature:  

"2009 is a great year for the partnership of KGS and Astrium. This new space system will provide the Republic of Kazakhstan with access to a wide range of civil applications including monitoring natural resources and agriculture as well as providing mapping data and rescue operation support in the event of a disaster. It will also put the Republic of Kazakhstan at the forefront of current space technology and complement the country's space heritage, most famous for the Baikonur spaceport. The images from the Earth observation satellites will also be distributed globally by Astrium's subsidiary Spot Image."  

Under the satellites contract Astrium will:  

- Provide a space system with two Earth observation satellites - one of high resolution with a ground resolution of 1m, the other medium resolution with a ground resolution of 7m and a wide coverage swath.  

The high resolution satellite will be entirely provided by Astrium in France and will be based on the already well known platform of THEOS and Formosat-2. The camera will be based on the Silicon Carbide technology that is now used on all Astrium optical instrument design. This technology, developed by Astrium and unique in the world, has already been used on numerous instruments on board satellites, including the recent Herschel-Planck ESA mission.

 The medium resolution satellite is also remarkable as it is the result of the first collaboration between Astrium and its recently acquired subsidiary SSTL in the UK. Under this contract, SSTL will provide the satellite based on the SSTL 150 platform.

 - Provide the associated Ground Segment, both for the control and for the image data reception, which will be implemented in Astana  

- Train Kazakh engineers in satellite technology.

Under the foundation agreement, Astrium and KGS have agreed to set up a Joint Venture in Kazakhstan. Objectives of this Joint Venture will be:  

- To implement an Assembly, Integration and Test facility in Astana

- To jointly manage this facility and implement the Republic of Kazakhstan's space program 

The two companies have already concluded the preliminary design of the Centre for Integration and Test of Satellites that will soon be established in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. This first step was signed in June 2009 during the Paris Air Show.  

Kazakhstan has been involved in spaceflight since the very beginning. In 1957, the USSR chose Baikonur as the launch site for the first satellite, the legendary Sputnik 1. Then, in 1961, the world's first astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, took off from Baikonur. Baikonur is still Russia's primary launch site under lease from the Republic of Kazakhstan.  

Kazakhstan is now developing new ambitions in space as part of the programme "A New Kazakhstan in a New World".

One of the goals of this program  launched ten years ago by the President of the Kazakh Republic, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev - is to provide the country with the most advanced technology and to develop Kazakhstan's own industrial expertise. Astrium, the European leader in space technology, is offering the Kazakhs its know-how via a strategic and technological partnership that will help the country fulfil its space ambitions.  

This contract allows Astrium to confirm its worldwide position as the predominant provider of Earth observation solutions from space. As the leading space company in Europe, Astrium has been successful in both the telecommunications and Earth observation markets, achieving major successes for countries wishing to develop their space activities in a cooperative manner,  Kazinform refers to News Bulletin No 32 of the Kazakhstan Embassy in the USA.

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