Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

It is the first space system designed, developed and operated entirely by Spanish industry. Take high-resolution images of the Earth to create maps or manage disasters

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

His name is Ingenio, he is Spanish and he will photograph the Earth at an altitude of 670 kilometers to make maps, help manage disasters, monitor pollution, or monitor land and water use and migratory flows. At the Kourou spaceport, in French Guiana, everything is ready for the launch of this high-resolution optical satellite , which is scheduled to take off this morning.

If the meteorology or some last minute technical problem does not prevent it, at 2:52 am on Tuesday (Spanish peninsular time) a Vega rocket will be launched with SEOSAT-Ingenio and another French satellite called Taranis on board. At 3.46 hours the separation of the satellites will take place and around 4 hours, when the first signals are expected to be received, it will be known if the takeoff has been a success.

It is one of the largest projects carried out by the Spanish aerospace industry, which has never before designed, developed and operated a complete space system.

Manufacturing and launching the Ingenio satellite has cost around 200 million euros and has involved some 500,000 hours of work for the Spanish industry, which has provided 80% of the financing. “Our idea was to manufacture a satellite with great features but with a not very high price, hence the name Ingenio”, explained at a press conference Jorge Lomba, head of Aerospace Programs at the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) of the Ministry of Science.

Although SEOSAT-Ingenio, developed in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), will be able to provide high resolution images of any place on the Earth's surface, its main focuses will be Spain, the rest of Europe, Latin America and the north of Africa. And, as those responsible for the mission have pointed out, one of the main objectives is to provide Spain with the ability to autonomously observe both our country and the regions of greatest interest from space.

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

It is therefore hoped that it will be useful for making maps of places that suffer from natural disasters , such as floods, forest fires and earthquakes, and being able to provide authorities and rescue teams with updated information on their evolution in order to act more precisely.

Investigating the changes that are taking place on our planet due to climate change will be another of the main uses of the information collected by this 150-kilogram satellite that will work for seven years and will be capable of taking up to 600 images per day with a resolution 2.5 meters.

“SEOSAT-Ingenio is much more than a satellite . It is a fully operational system,” said Dominique Gillieron, head of ESA's Earth Explorer programs. “I congratulate Spain for the incredible work they have done in the midst of a crisis like this,” added the scientist after underlining that important phases of the development of the satellite took place during confinement by the coronavirus, in April and May.

Although the first images are expected to arrive in two to three weeks, the satellite will not be fully operational for six months. The mission will be controlled from ESA's Darmstadt Operations Center (ESOC), in Germany, and from the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid).

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

Spanish ingenuity to monitor the Earth

Together with the PAZ radar satellite, launched in 2018, SEOSAT-Ingenio completes the National Program for Earth Observation by Satellite (PNOTS). The information you provide will be available to civil, institutional and governmental users in Spain, although it may also be used by other European users within the framework of the Copernicus program of the European Union of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Airbus Defense and Space is Ingenio's main industrial contractor, to which the companies Sener, Indra, Crisa, Thales Alenia Space, Iberespacio, GMV, Deimos Space, HV Sistemas and GTD have contributed various components.

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