Sofradir wins contract for European GMES Sentinel-2 space mission

NOVEMBER 17, 2008--Sofradir (Veurey-Voroize, France; www.sofradir.com), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space, and industrial applications, has signed a EUR6.7 million (approx. USD10 million) contract with Astrium SAS, a worldwide supplier of satellites and space equipment.

NOVEMBER 17, 2008-- Sofradir (Veurey-Voroize, France; www.sofradir.com), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space, and industrial applications, has signed a EUR6.7 million (approx. USD10 million) contract with Astrium SAS, a worldwide supplier of satellites and space equipment.

Sofradir will supply a custom-made three-band shortwave infrared (SWIR) detector for the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), an Earth observation instrument onboard the Sentinel-2 satellite. The detector will be used to offer more discrimination of trees, crops, and other environmental elements, including the density of humid air. It is designed and screened to function for the in-orbit lifetime for each of the two Sentinel-2 satellites. Each will run for just over 7 years.

"The reliability of Sofradir's technology for 15-µm pixel pitch detectors and our experience in space project management were the crucial factors in Astrium's decision to choose Sofradir from among other European suppliers," claims Philippe Bensussan, CEO at Sofradir.

Under the contract, Sofradir will develop and manufacture a three-band SWIR detector from 1.3- to 2.3-µm wavelengths for multispectral analysis that will be delivered to Astrium SAS in 2010. The contract is being funded by the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The three-band SWIR detector uses Sofradir's mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) focal-plane array, a technology which is space qualified and that offers high performance for IR object identification. The detector includes three linear arrays of 1298 pixels at 15-µm pitch. Each array is sensitive to one waveband that is centered on 1.4, 1.6, and 2.2 µm, respectively. Since the arrays are hybridized on the same readout circuit, this results in very accurate relative positioning. All three arrays will scan the same object using the same pixel.

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