Spain plans satellite launch

Spain is getting serious about space, with plans to launch a pair of its own satellites in the next few years to improve its capabilities, a Satellite News report said.

'After several years participating in multinational space programmes, we
feel we are at the right time to initiate the development of our own space capability,' Col. Antonio Lazaro Espada of the Spanish Air Force and chief of the Spanish Helios Program, told Satellite News.

The first satellite, Ingenio, should be operational in 2012 and will be equipped with optical sensors. The second satellite, Paz, will be equipped with synthetic opening radar sensors with resolution suitable for producing military intelligence, he said.

'My personal view is that Spain, with this decision, has decided to be much more proactive in this sector,' said Lazaro Espada. 'You should not ignore that the use of space does not only allow increasing the efficiency of military operations and deterrence capabilities but also enhances the strategic influence of a country on the international scene.'

EADS CASA, the Spanish subsidiary of EADS, will be the prime contractor for Ingenio; EADS Astrium, the French subsidiary of EADS, will be the prime contractor for Paz.

Funding for the program, about €325 million (US$499.3 million), will be split between the Spanish Ministry of Defence, which will provide €135 million (US$207.4 million) and the Ministry of Industry, which will provide € 190 million (US$291.91 million).