Sep 22, 2010 -
The development of the European Earth observation programme GMES - Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Space Component - the Sentinels - is underway and Critical Software is a major on-board software supplier for this constellation of satellites. The Sentinel satellites are the cornerstone of the GMES Space Component which is being developed under the European Space Agency supervision and will provide invaluable data in understanding how the planet and its climate are changing, the role played by human activities in these changes and how these will influence our daily lives. Critical Software has been awarded contracts worth 4 MEUR. More than 30 Critical Software engineers will be involved in the different development stages throughout the next two years.
The GMES Space Component comprises five types of new satellites, called Sentinels, which are being developed by ESA specifically to meet the needs of GMES. The Sentinel missions include radar and super-spectral imaging for land, ocean and atmospheric monitoring. The first three Sentinels are currently under industrial development and contracts are already secured to start the development of their B counterparts, as each type of Sentinel will work in a pair.
Critical Software is responsible for the independent software validation and verification (ISVV) of several components of Sentinel-1 and, at the same time, is designing and will develop and integrate the central software for Sentinel-2. As for Sentinel-3, Critical Software has just started the design phase of the on-board software, which will then be developed, verified and validated by Critical Software.
"We were already leaders in ISVV services, and Sentinel-1 follows a list of other projects where Critical Software is providing such services. But securing the contracts for the on-board software development for both Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 places Critical Software as a major provider of such a service. This is the result of hard work and a bold strategy. We were able to successfully demonstrate our competencies to EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, both major European prime contractors. We were chosen, amongst fierce competition, by our technical and management skills, backed by a quality management system certified to operate in CMMI(r) Staged Level 5," states Bruno Carvalho, Business Development Manager for the Space market sector.
Sentinel-1 will provide all-weather radar images over Europe and Canada. Sentinel-1a is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2012 and Sentinel-1b will follow a few years later. Sentinel-2 mission objective is the systematic coverage of the earth's land surface, to produce cloud-free imagery over Europe. The first Sentinel-2 satellite is planned for launch at the end of 2012. The Sentinel-3 mission will determine parameters such as sea surface topography, sea/land surface temperature, ocean colour and land colour with high-end accuracy and reliability. The first Sentinel-3 satellite is planned for launch in 2013.
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