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Indra renews the SMOS satellite maintenance and development contract of the user segment

(17 September 2015) The European Space Agency has extended until 2017 the maintenance and development contract of the SMOS (Soil Moisture & Ocean Salinity) mission user segment, entrusted to Indra.

The service could thereafter be extended for another two years, until 2019, depending on the program’s development.

The SMOS satellite user segment for studying the Earth’s water cycle is located at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca del Castillo (Madrid).

This mission’s satellite was launched into space in November 2009 with a useful life of 3 years according to initial calculations, but its excellent technical and scientific conditions have enabled extending it.

Indra, as the company that led the SMOS user segment, has undertaken corrective and preventive maintenance since the start of operations in June 2010. To this task we must include engineering tasks that have introduced major improvements to the processing and reprocessing chain to generate products of higher quality.

In this regard, the successful implementation of a new software version or baseline has been completed with corporate support for all elements of the user segment. This update will allow for generating higher quality data to be used for obtaining more precise images of the planet’s distribution of moisture and salinity values.

To introduce the new software, Indra has performed prior tests on the integration and maintenance platform at its facilities in San Fernando de Henares before deploying the new version at the center in Villafranca.

With the new baseline already implemented, a campaign has been launched for reprocessing all data gathered by the satellite since the start of the mission.

This complex task will be performed by a reprocessing platform specifically implemented by Indra to keep this task from affecting the mission’s main processing of data in real time upon receipt from the satellite.

This reprocessing center is based on the same software used by the main center, but Indra has contributed improvements that enable the reprocessing of SMOS data between 12 and 30 times faster, depending on the end product’s required level.

As part of the new maintenance contract signed with the ESA, Indra will contribute additional improvements to further speed up this reprocessing. To achieve this, several processing instances will be executed in parallel.

On another hand, in addition to all of these improvements, Indra will implement new tools to help the Operations team manage the reprocessing platform.

The new contract also includes improvement of the X-band data acquisition station at the ESAC and of the station’s monitoring and control system controlling the data reception antenna.

Indra, leader in SMOS

Indra led the industrial team that developed the entire user segment for the SMOS mission. This segment is in charge of gathering and processing data collected by the satellite and of performing complex calculations to infer the salinity and moisture levels and, therefore, obtain the images that display the distribution of these values.

Indra, furthermore, directly developed several of the mission’s key subsystems, including one of the two satellite data reception stations and the center’s archiving, distribution, production management and monitoring system.


Indra, overseen by Chairman & CEO Fernando Abril-Martorell, is one of the leading consulting and technology multinationals in Latin America and Europe. The company is the global technology partner for operations in its clients’ key businesses. It offers business solutions, IT services and integrated systems for clients around the world. Indra has a standout business model based on proprietary solutions (representing nearly 65% of its total 2014 revenues) that serve leading clients in key industries and regions. In 2014 it reported revenues of 2.938 billion euros, employed 39,000 professionals, had a local presence in 46 countries, and delivered projects in more than 140 countries. The company develops a range of technological solutions and services for operations in various industries, including Energy & Industry, Financial Services, Telecom & Media, Public Administrations & Healthcare, Transport & Traffic, and Security & Defense.

(source: Indra)